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Full text of "North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan"

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA 
STRATE6IC REGIONAL POLICY PLAN 





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NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA 
STRATEGIC REGIONAL POLICY PLAN 



This document has been prepared with financial assistance from the 
Florida Department of Community Affairs 



North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 

2009 NW 67th Place, Suite A 

Gainesville, Florida 32653-1603 



May 23, 1996 
amended August 28, 1997 



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North Central Florida 
Regional Planning Council 




2009 NW 67 PLACE, SUITE A, GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA 32653-1603 
(352) 955-2200 SUNCOM S25-22QO FAX (352) 955-2209 



North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan 

Amendment Package/Replacement Pages 

October 13, 1997 



On August 28, 1997, the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council amended its strategic 
regional policy plan. The rule adopting the amendment was filed with the Department of State 
with an effective date of October 16, 1997. 

The enclosed amendment package contains replacement pages which, when inserted in your copy 
of the plan, will keep it up-to-date. Instructions for updating the North Central Florida Strategic 
Regional Policy Plan are as follows: The amendment package replaces entire sections/chapters 
of the regional plan. Replace the following sections of the original document with the enclosed 
amended sections: 

Title page 

Table of Contents and List of Tables 

Executive Summary 

Natural Resources of Regional Significance 

Appendix B. Glossary of Terms 

Appendix C. Maps of Natural Resources of Regional Significance 

Appendix D. Listed Species and Habitat Descriptions (a new section) 

Appendix E. Comments 

Please contact Steven Dopp of the Council staff at 352-955-2200 x 109 if you have any 
questions. 



Serving Florida's Suwannee Valley 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/northcentralflorOOnort_0 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

INTRODUCTION vii 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY xiii 
STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREAS 

Affordable Housing 1-1 

Economic Development II- 1 

Emergency Preparedness III-l 

Natural Resources of Regional Significance IV- 1 

Regional Transportation V-l 

REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT FACILITIES AND RESOURCES VI-1 

COORDINATION OUTLINE VII-1 
APPENDIX 

A. Dispute Resolution Rule A-l 

B. Glossary of Terms B-l 

C. Maps of Natural Resources of Regional Significance C-l 

D. Listed Species Habitat Descriptions D-l 

E. Comments E-l 



i 
amended August 28, 1997 



LIST OF TABLES 

Table Page 

1.1 Change in Number of North Central Florida Dwelling Units, 1980 -1990 1-2 

1.2 Percentage of Occupied Housing Units by Tenure, 1980 and 1990 1-3 

1 .3 Number of Mobile Homes and Mobile Homes as a Percentage of Total 

Housing Units, 1970, 1980, and 1990 1-5 

1 .4 Number and Percentage of Mobile Homes and Conventional Detached 
Single Family Residential Dwelling Units by Incorporated and 

Unincorporated Location, 1990 1-6 

1.5 Number and Percentage of Total Dwelling Units Lacking Complete 

Plumbing Facilities, 1980 & 1990 I- 10 

1.6 Overcrowding. Number and Percentage of Occupied Year-round 

Housing with 1.01 or More Persons per Room 1980 and 1990 1-1 1 

1.7 North Central Florida Region Housing Costs, 1970, 1980, & 1990 1-13 

1 .8 Median Household Income, 1 969, 1 979, and 1 989 1-14 

1.9 Percentage of Households Spending 25.0 Percent or More of Annual 

Household Income on Housing Costs by Tenure, 1980 & 1990 1-16 

1.10 Percentage of 1 990 Households by Percent of 1 989 Household Income 

Spent on Gross Rent 1-17 

1.11 Percentage of 1 990 Households by Selected Monthly Owner Costs 

as a Percentage of 1989 Household Income 1-18 

1.12 Number and Percentage of 1990 Households with 1989 Annual Incomes 
of less than $20,000 Spending 30.0 Percent or More of 1989 Annual 

Income for Housing 1-20 



ii 
amended August 28, 1997 



LIST OF TABLES, Cont'd. 

Table Page 

1.13 Housing Affordability . Number of Households and Number of Housing 
Units Affordable by Percentage of 1989 HUD-adjusted Median Family 

Income (HAMFI) 1-22 

1.14 Government-assisted Housing. Dwelling Units Assisted and Provided by 
Government Housing Subsidy Programs 1-26 

2. 1 North Central Florida Population Growth, 1 9 1 - 1 990 II-2 

2.2 North Central Florida Population Projections, 1 990 - 2020 II-3 

2.3 North Central Florida Percent of Population by Race, 1 970, 1 980, & 1 990 II-4 

2.4 North Central Florida Percent of Population Age 65 and Over, 1 970, 1 980, & 1 990 II-5 

2.5 North Central Florida Components of Change in Population, 1960 - 1990 II-6 

2.6 North Central Florida Region Place of Residence Five Years Prior to 

Decennial Census, Persons Five Years Old and Older (Percent) II-7 

2.7 Percentage of North Central Florida Employment by Industrial Sector, 1990 II-9 

2.8 North Central Florida Employment by Industrial Sector, 1990 11-10 

2.9 Change in Number of North Central Florida Employment by Industrial 

Sector, 1970-90 11-14 

2.10 Percentage Change in North Central Florida Employees by Industrial Sector, 

1970-90 11-15 

2.11 Percent of North Central Florida Employment by Industrial Sector, 1 970 11-16 

2.12 North Central Florida Noninstitutionalized Civilian Labor Force and Labor 

Force Participation Rates, 1 970 - 1 990 II- 1 8 

2.13 North Central Florida Employment by Occupation, 1970 11-20 



in 

amended August 28, 1997 



LIST OF TABLES, Cont'd. 

Table Page 

2.14 North Central Florida Employment by Occupation, 1990 11-21 

2. 1 5 North Central Florida Educational Attainment 11-22 

2.16 North Central Florida Income and Poverty, 1969, 1979 & 1989 11-25 

2.17 North Central Florida Median Household Income, 1 969, 1 979, and 1 989 11-26 

2. 1 8 North Central Florida Unemployment Rates 1 970, 80, 90, 92, & 93 (In Percent) 11-28 

2. 1 9 North Central Florida Unemployment Rates by Race and Sex, 1 970, 80, & 90 

(In Percent) 11-30 

2.20 North Central Florida Taxable Value, 1 972-92 (Rounded to Thousands of Dollars) II-3 1 

2.21 North Central Florida Taxable Value per Square Mile of Land Area 

(Rounded to Thousands of Dollars) 11-32 

2.22 Taxable Value per Capita (In Dollars) 11-33 

2.23 North Central Florida Taxable Value Percent of Assessed Value Which Is 

Taxable, 1972-92 11-34 

2.24 North Central Florida Farm Income per Acre, 1 982 & 92 (Dollars) 11-35 

2.25 North Central Florida Farm Income on a Place-of-work Basis, 1980-92 

(Thousands of Dollars) 11-36 

2.26 North Central Florida Land in Farms, 1982, 87, & 92 (In Acres) 11-37 

2.27 North Central Florida Forest Product Harvest, 1989 (Rounded to Thousands 

of Cubic Feet) 11-38 

2.28 North Central Florida Forest Products Harvest by Product and Species Group, 

1989 (Percent of Total) 11-39 



IV 



amended August 28, 1997 



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LIST OF TABLES, Cont'd. 

Table Page 

2.29 North Central Florida Forest Products Harvest by Product and by Species Group, 
Percent Change over Time, 1979-1989 " 11-40 

2.30 Dixie and Taylor County Fish and Shellfish Landings by Type of Species, 

1971-92 (In Pounds) 11-41 

2.3 1 North Central Florida Area Fish Landings, Estimated Pounds and Value 
Affected Annually by Florida Net Ban 

11-43 

2.32 North Central Florida Tourist Facilities Hotels, Motels, & Food Service 
Establishments, 1980-93 11-45 

2.33 North Central Florida State Parks and Areas Attendance, Fiscal Years 1985-86 
Through 1993-94 11-46 

3.1 Hurricane Evacuation Clearance Times in Hours III-5 

3.2 North Central Florida Projected Hurricane Shelter Surplus/Deficit III-8 

4.1 North Central Florida Natural Resources of Regional Significance IV-3 

4.2 North Central Florida Water Withdrawal by Withdrawal Type, Percentage 

Change, 1985-90 IV- 13 

4.3 Percent of North Central Florida Water Withdrawal by Withdrawal Type, 1990 IV- 14 

4.4 State and Federally Listed Species Known to Occur in the North Central Florida 

Region Identified in the FNAI Element Occurence Database IV-20 

4.5 Additional Listed North Central Florida Listed Species Identified by the Florida 

Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission IV-21 

5.1 North Central Florida Residents Using Public Transportation as Primary Means 

of Travel to Work Workers, Age 1 6 and over V-2 



V 

amended August 28, 1997 



LIST OF TABLES, Cont'd. 

Table Page 

5.2 North Central Florida Transportation Disadvantaged Programs V-5 

5.3 Projected Transportation Disadvantaged Population V-6 

5.4 Transportation Disadvantaged Population as Percentage of Total Population V-8 

5.5 Projected Transportation Disadvantaged General Trip Demand V-10 

5.6 FY 1995-1996 and Projected Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund Funding V-l 1 

5.7 FY 1 995-1 996 and Projected Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund Funding V-12 

5.8 Regionally Significant Transportation Facilities V-13 

5.9 Regional Road Network Segments Which May Drop below Adopted 

Minimum LOS by 2011 V-21 

5.10 Scheduled Regional Road Network Studies & Improvements V-23 



VI 



amended August 28, 1997 



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INTRODUCTION 



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INTRODUCTION 

WHAT IS A STRATEGIC REGIONAL POLICY PLAN? 

The North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan is a long-range guide for the physical, 
economic, and social development of a planning region which identifies regional goals and policies. 
It is not just a plan for the regional planning council. It is a plan for the region. The plan, contains 
regional goals and policies designed to promote a coordinated program of regional actions directed 
at resolving problems identified in the trends and conditions statements contained within each 
strategic regional subject area. The required strategic regional subject areas are affordable housing, 
economic development, emergency preparedness, natural resources of regional significance, and 
regional transportation. The plan must also identify and address significant regional resources and 
facilities that could be adversely affected by development activities. 

The Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP) is intended to be strategic rather than comprehensive in 
nature and scope. Rule 27E-5. 002(9), Florida Administrative Code ( F.A.C. ). defines "strategic" as 
proactive, future and result-oriented with a focus on important long-term priorities, needs and 
problems of the region. It is not required to address all the goals in the State Comprehensive Plan 
(Chapter 187, Florida Statutes ): however, it must nevertheless be consistent with and further the 
State Comprehensive Plan. 

The SRPP is not a regulatory document, nor does it create regulatory authority. According to state 
law, the SRPP may not establish binding level of service standards for public facilities and services 
provided or regulated by local governments; however, this limitation does not limit the authority of 
regional planning councils to propose objections, recommendations, or comments on local plans or 
plan amendments (Chapter 186.507(14) Florida Statutes ). 

PURPOSE OF THE STRATEGIC REGIONAL POLICY PLAN 

The SRPP serves as a basis for the review of the resources and facilities found in local government 
comprehensive plans originating in the region. Other purposes, as described in 27E-5.001(1), F.A.C. . 
include: 

(1) To implement and further the goals and policies of the State Comprehensive Plan 
with regard to the strategic regional subject areas and other components addressed 
in the plan; 

(2) To provide long-range policy guidance for the physical, economic, and social 
development of the region; 



vn 



(3) To establish public policy for the resolution of disputes over regional problems, 
needs, or opportunities through the establishment of regional goals and policies and 
to provide a regional basis and perspective for the coordination of governmental 
activities and the resolution of problems, needs, and opportunities that are of regional 
concern or scope; 

(4) To establish goals and policies, in addition to other criteria established by law, that 
provide a basis for the review of developments of regional impact, regional review 
of federally assisted projects, and other activities of the regional planning council. 
In addition, the plan may recommend specific locations or activities in which a 
project, that due to its character or location, should be a development of regional 
impact within the region. Standards included in strategic regional policy plans shall 
be used for planning purposes only and not for permitting or regulatory purposes. A 
regional planning council shall not adopt a planning standard that differs materially 
from a planning standard adopted by rule by a state or regional agency when such 
rule expressly states the planning standard is intended to preempt action by the 
regional planning council; 

(5) To establish goals and policies to assist the state and the Council in the determination 
of consistency of local comprehensive plans with strategic regional policy plans and 
the State Comprehensive Plan. Strategic Regional Policy Plans shall serve as a basis 
to review the resources and facilities found in local government comprehensive 
plans; 

(6) To establish land development and transportation goals and policies in a manner that 
fosters region-wide transportation systems; 

(7) To serve as a basis for decisions by the regional planning council; 

(8) To guide the administration of federal, state, regional, and local agency programs and 
activities in the region to the extent provided by law; 

(9) To identify significant regional resources and facilities, infrastructure needs, or other 
problems, needs, or opportunities of importance to the region; 

(10) To identify natural resources of regional significance and promote the protection of 
those resources; 

(11) To set forth economic development goals and policies that promote regional 
economic growth and improvement; and 

(12) To set forth goals and policies that address the affordable housing and emergency 
preparedness problems and needs for the region. 



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CONSISTENCY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE PLANS WITH THE 
STRATEGIC REGIONAL POLICY PLAN 

Rule 9J-5.021(1), F.A.C. . requires that each local government comprehensive plan in the region be 
consistent with the SRPP and with the State Comprehensive Plan. Consistency is defined as being 
compatible with and furthering the regional and state plans. The term "compatible" means that the 
local plan is not in conflict with the regional and state plans. The term "furthers" means to take 
action in the direction of realizing goals or policies of the state or regional plan. For purposes of 
determining consistency of the local plan with the state and regional plan, the state or regional plans 
shall be construed as a whole and no specific goal and policy shall be construed or applied in 
isolation from the other goals and policies in the plans (9J-5.021(2) F.A.C. ). 

THE STRATEGIC REGIONAL PLANNING PROCESS 

The procedures used to formulate the North Central Florida SRPP are set forth in Rule 27E-5.001, 
F.A.C. The Council's procedures in developing the SRPP are summarized below. 

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 

Public input and participation were invited during the initial formulation of the Strategic Regional 
Policy Plan through a well-publicized public hearing held at the beginning of the planning process 
and at ensuing Regional Planning Committee meetings where audience input was solicited. Public 
input will be received at public hearings to be held in the region during the review phase of the draft 
plan. 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT PARTICIPATION 

Local government participation has occurred primarily through the county commissioners and 
municipal officials serving on the Council. Council members were directly involved in the 
preparation of the SRPP through their participation on the Regional Planning Committee, which was 
charged with developing a draft of the regional plan. In addition, local government planning staff 
regularly received and commented on draft strategic regional subject area chapters 

PARTICIPATION BY OTHER AGENCIES 

Copies of the draft strategic regional subject area chapters were circulated to various agencies for 
review and comment during the formulation of the plan. These included the Suwannee River Water 
Management District, St. Johns River Water Management District, the Florida Department of 
Community Affairs, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department 
of Transportation, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the Florida Department 
of Health and Rehabilitative Services. 



IX 



EXISTING PLANS 

Existing plans and regulations affecting the strategic regional subject areas were reviewed to provide an overall 
planning and regulatory framework for the trends and conditions analysis for each strategic regional subject 
area. 

DATA AND ANALYSIS 

The data utilized in the plan was assembled from various sources. These sources are identified as 
footnotes located throughout the document. Data utilized in this plan are available for public 
inspection at the office of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council in Gainesville. 

PLAN ORGANIZATION 

The content and format of the SRPP is set forth in Rule 27E-5.004, F.A.C. The organization and 
content of this plan are summarized below. 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

The Executive Summary briefly describes strategic regional subject areas and selected goals and 
policies of specific concern to the region. It also summarizes important conditions and trends that 
exist in the region. 

COORDINATION OUTLINE 

The Coordination Outline provides an overview of the Council's cross-acceptance, dispute 
resolution, public participation, and related regional planning and coordination activities. The 
outline is presented for information purposes only to describe how local governments and citizens 
are involved in developing, implementing, and updating the plan, and how the Council will help 
resolve inconsistencies between local, state, and regional plans. 

STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREAS 

The North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan addresses five strategic regional issue 
areas: Affordable Housing, Economic Development, Emergency Preparedness, Natural Resources 
of Regional Significance, and Regional Transportation. Strategic regional subject areas are subject 
areas that, when viewed from a regional perspective, have the potential to affect the region's 
significant physical characteristics and/or its qualify of life. Each subject area is comprised of a 
trends and conditions statement; which contains an analysis of factors that describe current 
conditions and future related trends; regional goals as well as associated regional indicators and 
policies; and identification of regional facilities and/or resources. A subsection of the trends and 
conditions statement, entitled "Problems, Needs, and Opportunities" identifies the problems, needs, 



and opportunities associated with growth and development in the region. 1 The identified problems, 
needs, and opportunities are derived from the trends and conditions statement. Maps of natural 
resources of regional significance are included in the plan. These maps are available from the 
Council at a scale of 1 : 1 00,000. 

Goals are long term ends toward which programs and activities should be ultimately directed. The 
goals are derived from the problems, needs, and opportunities section of the trends and conditions 
statements. Furthermore, goals must be consistent with and further the State Comprehensive Plan. 
Each regional goal is accompanied by one or more Regional Indicators. Regional Indicators are 
statements of baseline information against which progress towards achieving the goal can be 
measured in the region's five-year evaluation and appraisal report. Policies promote activities and 
programs in furtherance of implementation of regional goals. Regional goals and policies must also 
be consistent with and in furtherance of the State Comprehensive Plan. 

REGIONAL FACILITIES AND RESOURCES 

Each strategic regional subject area chapter identifies regional resources and/or facilities pertaining 
to the particular chapter. Regional facilities and/or resources which are not pertinent to one of the 
plans five strategic regional subject area chapters are identified in this chapter. 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS 

A glossary section is included which defines key terms appearing in the text. 



The "Problems, Needs, and Opportunities" section is the only part of the regional plan which identifies 
problems, opportunities, and needs as required by Rule 27E-5. 002(1 1), F.A.C. 



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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 



amended August 28, 1997 



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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING 

A high percentage of the north central Florida housing stock is comprised of mobile homes. At least 
in partial response to the high price of conventionally-built housing, many north central Florida 
households have turned to mobile homes as an affordable alternative to conventionally-built, 
detached, single-family residential homes. 

Between 1980 and 1990, The region's median contract rent rose at a higher rate than owner-occupied 
housing when measured on a percentage basis. During this period, the rate of increase in median 
contract rent was greater than the rate of increase in median annual income in all north central 
Florida counties. Despite the widening gap, additional 1990 census data suggests the region's 
households kept pace with housing costs during the 1980s. 61.3 percent of the region's renters spent 
25.0 percent or more of their annual income on housing costs in 1980. In 1990, the rate was 61.5 
percent. North central Florida homeowners experienced a decrease in the percentage of households 
spending 25.0 percent or more of their annual income on housing costs, dropping from 28.2 percent 
in 1980 to 26.1 percent in 1990. The region's experience contrasts somewhat with statewide rates, 
where a slight decline in housing affordability was experienced by homeowners. 

Some north central Florida counties experienced a decline in housing affordability during the 1980s. 
Dixie, Hamilton, and Union counties experienced noticeable increases in the percentage of renters 
paying 25.0 percent or more of their annual household income for gross rent between 1980 and 1990. 
Meanwhile, Columbia, Dixie, Lafayette, Madison, and Suwannee counties experienced increases in 
the percentage of homeowners spending 25.0 percent or more of their annual household income on 
housing costs. 

The housing affordability issue is particularly acute for renters with household incomes of less than 
$10,000 per year. In 1990, 87.6 percent of all north central Florida renters earning less than $10,000 
per year paid 30.0 percent or more of their annual household income on gross rent. Conversely, no 
north central Florida renters earning $50,000 or more per year paid 30.0 percent or more of their 
annual household income on gross rent. The same trend applies to homeowners. In 1990, 53.4 
percent of all north central Florida homeowners earning less than $10,000 per year paid 30.0 percent 
or more of their annual household income for housing costs. Conversely, only 1.5 percent of all 
north central Florida homeowners earning $50,000 or more per year paid 30.0 percent or more for 
housing costs. 

REGIONAL GOAL 1.1. Reduce the percentage of the region's very low-, low-, and moderate- 
income households spending 30.0 percent or more of their annual household income on housing. 



Xlll 

amended August 28, 1997 



ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 

The north central Florida economic base can be characterized as a combination of retail trade, health 
and educational services, and government employment (state prisons and the University of Florida). 
Since these industries tend to be low-paying and many involve non-taxable land and structures, this 
mixture has resulted in below-average median household and per capita incomes, above-average 
poverty rates, and a below-average local government tax base. Therefore, economic development, 
enhanced job opportunities, and an improved local government tax base are primary concerns of the 
regional plan. 

As indicated in Table 2.10, north central Florida 1989 per capita income was $1 1,083, 24.6 percent 
less than the statewide figure of $14,687. No north central Florida county reported a per capita 
income figure above the statewide average. Overall, north central Florida unemployment rates are 
comparable to statewide trends. However, when Alachua County is removed from consideration, 
the rate of unemployment for the remainder of the region is in excess of the statewide rate. Several 
north central Florida counties are experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. 
Of the 15 Florida counties reporting unemployment rates in excess of 10.0 percent in 1993, five are 
found in north central Florida. 2 As indicated in Table 2.12, Hamilton County had the highest 
unemployment rate in the state in January, 1993, at 16.5 percent. Taylor County had the state's third 
highest unemployment rate at 13.6 percent. 

Internet access, access to computer packet-switching networks such as Telnet and Gulfhet, and 
access to commercial on-line services such as CompuServe and America On-Line is limited to 
Alachua, Columbia, Suwannee, and Taylor counties. Concern exists that the lack of access to such 
services may negatively affect business opportunities and the competitive environment of the region. 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.1. Attract new high paying, value-added industries and expand existing 
businesses in the region. 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.2. Raise the median family income of north central Florida households. 

REGIONAL GOAL 23. Expand north central Florida food, agriculture, aquaculture, forestry and 
related industries in order to be a competitive force in state, national, an international marketplaces. 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.4. Expand the regional tourism industry. 



2 Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Market Information, Local Area 
Unemployment Statistics Program, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
"State of Florida Local Area Unemployment Statistics by County (Not Seasonally Adjusted)." Tallahassee, FL. 
1993. 



xiv 
amended August 28, 1997 



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REGIONAL GOAL 2.5. Reduce the regional unemployment rate. 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.6. Ensure adequate public utilities and facilities to serve business and 
industrial development throughout the region. 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.7. Establish local dial-up access from every north central Florida county to 
the Internet and to computerized packet switching networks. 

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 

HURRICANES 

NOAA weather radio signals cover approximately 25 percent of the region. Virtually none of the 
north central Florida coastal area can receive NOAA broadcasts. Taylor County is currently applying 
for a federal grant to establish an NOAA weather station that will provide coverage for both Dixie 
and Taylor counties. Even if the grant is funded, much of inland north central Florida will remain 
outside NOAA weather radio coverage. A need continues to exist for an additional NOAA weather 
station to serve Columbia, Hamilton, Madison, and Suwannee counties. 

At the time of 1993's Storm of the Century, no weather buoys or other government-owned weather 
monitoring instruments were located in the Gulf of Mexico off the Big Bend coastline. Weather 
buoys provide valuable information regarding temperature, wind speed, wind direction, and 
barometric pressure. One weather buoy was installed in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 100 miles 
southwest of Horseshoe Beach in 1994. The weather buoy contains weather instruments and a radio 
transmitter. It was the first instrument to identify hurricane force winds in 1995's Hurricane Allison. 3 
Storm surge increases in height as it nears land. A need exists for additional buoys or other 
meteorological instruments located at intervals of 50 and ten miles offshore to help meteorologists 
more accurately predict storm surges as coastal storms move landward. 

Dixie and Taylor counties have four small coastal communities: the unincorporated coastal 
communities of Jena-Steinhatchee, Dekle Beach-Keaton Beach, Suwannee, and the incorporated 
Town of Horseshoe Beach. Warning sirens can be useful means of notifying community residents 
of storm warnings and evacuation orders when other forms of communication fail. During the Storm 
of the Century, none of these communities had warning sirens. As of June, 1995, only Horseshoe 
Beach has subsequently acquired an emergency warning siren. A need exists to provide emergency 
warning sirens in the remaining coastal communities. 



Mike Rucker, Public Information Officer, Florida Department of Community Affairs, Division of 
Emergency Management, June, 1995. 



xv 
amended August 28, 1997 



HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RELEASES 

Under contract with the Florida Department of Community Affairs, the North Central Florida 
Regional Planning Council serves as staff to the North Central Florida Local Emergency Planning 
Committee (LEPC). The LEPC was established in 1988 in response to the federal Emergency 
Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) which requires the preparation of local 
emergency response plans for hazardous materials releases which, for the State of Florida, have been 
developed utilizing the eleven regional planning council districts. 4 

The LEPC and county hazardous materials emergency response plans contain a good understanding 
of hazardous materials located at stationary facilities. Little is known about hazardous materials 
moving down roads and railroads in the region. Given the rural nature of north central Florida and 
the large populations located south of the region, it is likely that the biggest hazardous materials 
emergencies could result from releases from trucks and trains passing through the region. A need 
exists for a commodity flow study of the region's roads and railroads. 

When a hazardous materials release occurs, a local fire department or other local government 
personnel arrive at the scene and determine if local resources are adequate to cope with the release. 
If the incident requires greater than local resources, the local government contacts one of the region's 
two regional response teams. One of the response teams is run by the City of Gainesville Fire 
Department while the other is operated by PCS Phosphate Corporation in Hamilton County. The 
LEPC is conducting a needs assessment for additional regional response teams to assure a timely 
response to hazardous materials spills in the western portion of the region. 

MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS 

Most north central Florida local governments have not entered into formal mutual aid agreements 
with their neighbors. In an age of increasingly tight local government budgets, the need for more 
specialized regional response teams, and concerns regarding liability issues, formal mutual aid 
agreements are becoming increasingly important to assure assistance is available when needed. 

REGIONAL GOAL 3.1. Improve emergency preparedness for coastal storms in the region. 

REGIONAL GOAL 3.2. Participation by all north central Florida local governments in the 
National Flood Insurance Program. 



4 Although referred to as a local plan, it is, in fact, a regional plan which addresses all eleven north central 
Florida counties. 



xvi 
amended August 28, 1997 



REGIONAL GOAL 3.3. Reduce response times of regional hazardous materials response teams 
to 60 minutes for hazardous materials emergencies in Perry, Cross City, and Greenville. 



REGIONAL GOAL 3.4. Improve the ability of emergency response teams to respond to hazardous 
materials emergences. — 

REGIONAL GOAL 3.5. All north central Florida local governments are signatories to the 
Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement for Catastrophic Disaster Response and Recovery. 

NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 

Natural resources of regional significance are natural resources or systems of interrelated natural 
resources, which due to their function, size, rarity, or endangerment, provide benefits of regional 
significance to the natural or human environment. They consist of both coastal and inland wetlands, 
rivers and their associated floodplains, large forested areas, lakes, springs, the Floridan Aquifer, and 
land areas with the potential to adversely affect the water quality of the aquifer (stream-to-sink 
watersheds and high recharge areas). Listed species are also recognized as natural resources of 
regional significance. 5 

Although mapped as discrete geographic units, natural resources of regional significance are really 
parts of an interconnected natural system extending across and beyond the region. Actions in one 
part of the system can have significant adverse consequences elsewhere. For example, the Big Bend 
Seagrass Beds and the fishery it supports are dependent upon fresh water flows from the Suwannee 
and other coastal rivers. The rivers are in turn dependent upon headwater swamps for their base 
flows of fresh water. Dredging and filling headwater swamps, such as the Okefenokee Swamp in 
Georgia and north central Florida's San Pedro Bay and Mallory Swamp, could have negative impacts 
upon the seagrass beds and coastal fishery. 

THE FLORIDAN AQUIFER 

Regional demand for potable water from the Floridan Aquifer is increasing. Between 1985 and 
1990, north central Florida ground water withdrawals increased from 208.6 million gallons per day 
(mgd) in 1985 to 242.1 mgd in 1990. 6 The region's 16.1 percent increase in ground water 



5 Listed species are those plant and animal species classified as Endangered. Threatened, or Species of 
Special Concern in Florida's Endangered Species. Threatened Species, and Species of Special Concern: Official 
Lists, published by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. 

University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1989 & 1994 Florida Statistical 
Abstract. Gainesville, Fl., Table 8.41. 



xvu 
amended August 28, 1997 



withdrawal was greater than the 14.8 percent increase experienced statewide for this period. 
Additionally, the region's 28.0 percent increase in total water consumption was greater than the 
statewide rate of increase of 4.9 percent for this period. 7 While projecting future demand for ground 
water withdrawals is difficult, particularly for agricultural and industrial uses, it is likely that demand 
for domestic consumption will increase in proportion to increases in population. 

North central Florida has a much higher reliance on ground water than the rest of the state. In 1990, 

68.2 percent of all water withdrawn for human use came from ground water sources, compared with 

26.3 percent statewide. 8 North central Florida water consumption by type of user is similar to 
statewide usage. 

Sufficient potable supplies are expected to be available to meet the region's present and projected 
requirements provided there is proper planning and careful management of the water supply. North 
central Florida must retain adequate water reserves for future water requirements, including the 
requirements of a growing population as well as north central Florida's natural systems and native 
species. Water from the Floridan Aquifer is required for the region's springs and rivers to flow, for 
wetlands to remain wet, and for lakes to remain lakes. The region's vegetation and wildlife are 
dependent upon the water found within rivers, springs, and wetlands for their survival. However, 
little is known about the relationships between groundwater and surfacewater, and the surface water 
needs of native species. Additional information is needed regarding these relationships and needs. 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.1. Preserve Big Bend coastal and marine resources identified as Natural 
Resources of Regional Significance for future generations of residents in recognition of their 
economic and ecological importance to the region. 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.2. Maintain an adequate supply of high-quality groundwater to meet the 
needs of north central Florida residents, in recognition of its importance to the continued growth and 
development of the region. 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.3. Protect all sources of recharge to the Floridan aquifer from all activities 
which would impair these functions or cause a degradation in the quality of the water being 
recharged in recognition of the importance of maintaining adequate supplies of high-quality 
groundwater for the region. 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.4. Protect all listed species located in north central Florida. 



7 1989 & 1994 Florida Statistical Abstract , tables 8.41 & 8.42. 
8 1989 & 1994 Florida Statistical Abstract , tables 8.41 & 8.42. 



xvui 
amended August 28, 1997 



.' 



REGIONAL GOAL 4.5. Protect natural resources of regional significance identified in this plan 
as "Planning and Resource Management Areas." 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.6. Maintain the quantity and quality of the region's surface water systems 
in recognition of their importance to the continued growth and development of the region. 

REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION 

Regionally significant transportation facilities are those facilities used to provide transportation 
between cities located both within and outside the region and other specially designated facilities. 
They include one airport, two interstate highways, nine U.S. highways, 25 state roads, 1 1 local roads 
designated as hurricane evacuation routes, and four public transit system providers. 

REGIONAL ROAD NETWORK 

The regional road network is comprised of interstate highways, U.S. highways, state roads, and 
county roads that serve as hurricane evacuation routes in Dixie and Taylor counties. Overall, the 
regional road network consists of 1,359 miles of roadways, of which 177 miles are comprised of 
interstate highways, 569 miles are U.S. highways, 470 miles are state roads, and 143 miles are local 
roads used as hurricane evacuation routes. 9 Additionally, 427.1 miles of the regional road network 
are designated as a part of the Florida Intrastate Highway System. The regional road network 
provides good transportation service to the region. With the exception of a few specific segments 
in Gainesville, the largest municipality in the region, nearly all of the regional road network operates 
at or above the minimum level of service standards contained within local government comprehensive plans. 
A review of the comprehensive plans of the region's 44 local governments reveals a total of 65 
miles, 4.8 percent of the regional road network, may drop below the local government's adopted 
minimum level of service standard by the year 201 1 . Some segments of the regional road network 
which may drop below the minimum standard are either being corrected or studies are in progress 
to determine the means by which the minimum standard can be restored. Of the 65 miles of regional 
road network identified as either currently operating or projected to operate below the minimum 
level of service standard, the Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled 35.9 miles for 
lane additions, 1.3 miles for widening and/or resurfacing, and 19.8 miles for further study. 10 



Q 

University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research Florida Statistical Abstract 1993 
Transportation To Work, Gainesville, Fl.: The University Presses of Florida, 1993,. p. 388. 

10 FDOT Five Year Work Program, FY 1995-96 Through FY 1999-2000. Metropolitan Transportation 
Planning Organization for the Gainesville Urbanized Area, Year 2015 Needs and Cost Feasible Plan . PD & E Study 
project information from North Central Florida Regional Planning Council. 



xix 

amended August 28, 1997 



- 



STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREAS 



> 



I 



t 



> 



AFFORDABLE HOUSING 



> 



> 



STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREA: 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING 
CONDITIONS AND TRENDS STATEMENT 

INTRODUCTION 

The region's housing affordability issues can best be understood in the context of regional housing 
trends generally, including trends in new construction, tenure, mobile home occupancy, and housing 
quality. This chapter of the regional plan examines the region's housing trends generally with an 
emphasis on the housing affordability issues of very low-, low-, and moderate-income households. 11 

Most of the tables reported in this chapter are derived from the 1980 and 1990 censuses. Although 
the 1 990 census data is nearly six years old, it is still the most accurate and up-to-date information 
available concerning housing affordability in the region. The reported data reveals an unclear and 
somewhat confusing picture of housing affordability in north central Florida. The nature of the data 
makes it difficult to report generalizations regarding housing affordability in the region. The 1990 
census data reveals that a significant proportion of the population, primarily renters, pay more than 
they can afford for housing; however, another data source, the U.S. Census Bureau's 1990 
Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy Database, which is derived from 1 990 census data, 
suggests the region has an ample supply of affordable housing in all but one county for even the 
lowest income households. With such conflicting data, a careful analysis is necessary to determine 
what, if any, housing affordability problems exist in north central Florida. 

NUMBER OF UNITS CONSTRUCTED 

As derived from Table 1.1, the region added 34,477 new residential dwelling units during the 1980s, 
for a total of 149,697 in 1990. This represents a 29.9 percent increase over the 1980 total of 1 15,220 
units. The number of owner-occupied units increased by 27.6 percent, from 65,565 in 1980 to 
84,784 in 1990, while the number of renter-occupied units increased by 28.0 percent, from 36,169 
in 1980 to 46,302 in 1990. North central Florida counties experiencing the largest percentage 
increases in housing units during this period were Gilchrist (53.8%), Dixie (35.8%), Alachua 
(34.1%), and Suwannee (33.5%). Counties experiencing the smallest percentage increases were 
Bradford (1 1.7%), Madison (12.9%), and Taylor (13.3%). While the region enjoyed a healthy 
percentage increase in new dwelling units during the 1980s, the region's rate of growth was 
significantly less than the 39.3 percent increase reported statewide. 



Affordable housing is commonly defined as housing for which annual costs (including utilities, taxes, 
maintenance, and other associated costs) represent no more than 30 percent of the residing household's annual 
income. Moderate income refers to household income between 80.0 and 120.0 percent of the median household 
income. Low- income refers to household income between 50.0 percent and 80.0 percent of the median household 
income. Very low-income refers to household income below 50.0 percent of the median household income. 

1-1 



TABLE 1.1 
CHANGE IN NUMBER OF NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA DWELLING UNITS, 1980 -1990 





1980 


1990 


Percentage Change, 1980-1990 


Area 


Total 
Units 


Owner 

Occupied 

Units 


Renter 

Occupied 

Units 


Total 
Units 


Owner 

Occupied 

Units 


Renter 

Occupied 

Units 


Total 
Units 


Owner 

Occupied 

Units 


Renter 

Occupied 

Units 


Alachua 


58 ,947 


30,070 


24,537 


79,022 


38,616 


32,642 


34.1 


28.4 


33.0 


Bradford 


7,249 


4,866 


1,431 


8,099 


5,542 


1,651 


11.7 


13.9 


15.4 


Columbia 


13,628 


8,963 


3,220 


17,818 


11,509 


4,102 


30.7 


28.4 


27.4 


Dixie 


4,010 


2,108 


555 


5,445 


3,235 


681 


35.8 


53.5 


22.7 


Gilchrist 


2,647 


1,705 


301 


4,071 


2,806 


478 


53.8 


64.6 


58.8 


Hamilton 


3,342 


2,226 


678 


4,119 


2,657 


831 


23.2 


19.4 


22.6 


Lafayette 


1,764 


1,106 


307 


2,266 


1,389 


332 


28.5 


25.6 


8.1 


Madison 


5,557 


3,709 


1,268 


6,275 


4,196 


1,326 


12.9 


13.1 


4.6 


Suwannee 


8,765 


5,996 


1,743 


11,699 


7,950 


2,084 


33.5 


32.6 


19.6 


Taylor 


6,982 


4,417 


1,409 


7,908 


5,027 


1,374 


13.3 


13.8 


(2.5) 


Union 


2,329 


1,399 


720 


2,975 


1,857 


801 


27.7 


32.7 


11.3 


Region 


115,220 


66,565 


36,169 


149,697 


84,784 


46,302 


27.4 


27.6 


28.0 


w/o Al. Co. 


56,273 


36,495 


11,632 


70,675 


46,168 


13,660 


25.6 


26.5 


17.4 


Florida 


4,378,691 


2,557,079 


1,187,175 


6,100,262 


3,453,022 


1,681,847 


39.3 


35.0 


41.7 



Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. 
Summary Tape File 3A. Washington, D.C. 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Housing: General Housing 
Characteristics. Florida . Tables 1& 41. Washington, D.C. 1982. 



HOME OWNERSHIP 

North central Florida home ownership rates remained constant through the 1980s. In 1990, 64.7 percent 
of the region's occupied year-round housing units were owner occupied, compared to 64.8 percent in 1980. 
Alachua County, with its large student population, downwardly skews the region's home ownership rate. 
Excluding Alachua County, 77.2 percent of the region's 1990 occupied year-round housing units were 
owner occupied. This figure represents a slight increase over the 75.8 percent rate posted in 1980. The 
region's 1990 rate of home ownership is comparable to the statewide rate of 67.2 percent. The statewide 
rate is down slightly from 68.3 percent in 1980. 



1-2 



TABLE 1.2 
PERCENTAGE OF OCCUPIED HOUSING UNITS BY TENURE, 1980 AND 1990 





1980 


1990 


Area 


Owner 

Occupied 

Units 


Renter 

Occupied 

Units 


Owner 

Occupied 

Units 


Renter 

Occupied 

Units 


Alachua 


55.1 


44.9 


54.2 


45.8 


Bradford 


77.3 


22.7 


77.0 


23.0 


Columbia 


73.6 


26.4 


73.7 


26.3 


Dixie 


79.2 


20.8 


82.6 


17.4 


Gilchrist 


85.0 


15.0 


85.4 


14.6 


Hamilton 


76.7 


23.3 


76.2 


23.8 


Lafayette 


78.3 


21.7 


80.7 


19.3 


Madison 


74.5 


25.5 


76.0 


24.0 


Suwannee 


77.5 


22.5 


79.2 


20.8 


Taylor 


75.8 


24.2 


78.5 


21.5 


Union 


66.0 


34.0 


69.9 


30.1 


Region 


64.8 


35.2 


64.7 


35.3 


w/o Al. Co. 


75.8 


24.2 


77.2 


22.8 


Florida 


68.3 


31.7 


67.2 


32.8 



Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. 
Summary Tape File 3 A. Washington, D.C. 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Housing: General Housing 
Characteristics. Florida. Tables 1& 41. Washington, D.C. 1982. 



1-3 



MOBILE HOMES 

A high percentage of the north central Florida housing stock is comprised of mobile homes. At least 
in partial response to the high price of conventionally-built housing, many north central Florida 
households have turned to mobile homes as an affordable alternative to conventionally-built, detached, 
single-family residential homes. 

The region experienced dramatic growth in mobile homes during the 1970s. As can be seen in Table 
1.3, the number of mobile homes in the region increased from 6,135 in 1970 to 16,886 by 1980, an 
increase of 10,751 units, or 175.2 percent. The boom in mobile homes continued through the 1980s. 
By 1990, the number of mobile homes had more than doubled to 36,337, an increase of 19,451 units, 
or 1 15.2 percent, over 1980 levels. 

North central Florida counties experiencing the largest percentage increases in mobile homes during 
the 1980s include Dixie (248.0%), Gilchrist (242.5%), Union (230.4%), and Taylor (199.2%). North 
central Florida counties noting the smallest percentage increases were Bradford (62.6%) and Alachua 
(64.5%). Although low in terms of percentage increase, Alachua County experienced the largest 
increase in the absolute number of mobile homes during this time period with an additional 3,996 units. 

Statewide, the growth rate of mobile homes has been comparable to the region. Between 1970 and 
1980, the number of mobile homes increased by 171.5 percent statewide, nearly equal to the region's 
175.2 percent rate. During the 1980s, however, the statewide increase of 85.3 percent lagged the 
region's robust 1 15.2 percent rise. 

The rapid growth in the region's supply of mobile homes has caused a discernable shift in the 
percentage of total housing units comprised of mobile homes. In 1970, only 8.8 percent of the region's 
housing stock was comprised of mobile homes. By 1990, mobile homes accounted for 24.1 percent 
of the region's housing stock. When Alachua County is removed from consideration, mobile homes 
comprised 36.5 percent of the remaining region's 1990 housing stock. Mobile homes comprised over 
40.0 percent of the 1990 housing stock in Dixie (52.1%), Gilchrist (49.1%), and Suwannee (40.8%) 
counties. 



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As illustrated in Table 1.4, the majority of the region's mobile homes are located outside of 
incorporated communities. In 1990, fully 86.2 percent of the region's mobile homes were located 
outside of incorporated communities. The percentage is slightly higher when Alachua County is 
excluded from the region, rising to 91 .0 percent. The percentage of county-wide mobile homes located 
in unincorporated areas was consistently high in every north central Florida county, ranging from a low 
of 77.5 percent in Union County to a high of 94.5 percent in Columbia County. 






Even more telling is the percentage of total housing stock located in unincorporated areas which are 
comprised of mobile homes. In 1990, 34.8 percent of the region's housing stock located outside of 
incorporated areas was comprised of mobile homes, compared to 46.7 percent for conventionally-built, 
detached single-family units. When Alachua County is removed from consideration, the percentage 
of rural housing comprised of mobile homes jumps to 44.7 percent while conventional single-family 
units comprise 51.4 percent. Mobile homes out-number conventional single-family units in the 
unincorporated portions of Dixie, Gilchrist, and Suwannee counties and comprise over 50.0 percent 
of the housing stock in the unincorporated areas of Dixie and Gilchrist counties. 

TABLE 1.4 

NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF MOBILE HOMES AND CONVENTIONAL DETACHED 
SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DWELLING UNITS BY INCORPORATED AND 

UNINCORPORATED LOCATION, 1990 





Total 




Percent of Total 


Area 


Mobile Homes 


SFR, Detached 


Housing Units 


Mobile Homes 


SFRs 


Mobile Homes & SFRs 


Alachua 


10,196 


37,999 


79,022 


12.9 


48.1 


61.0 


Total Incorporated 


1,823 


22,362 


40,374 


4.5 


55.4 


59.9 


Percent 


17.9 


58.8 


51.1 








Unincorporated 


8,373 


15,637 


38,648 


21.7 


40.5 


62.1 


Percent 


82.1 


41.2 


48.9 








Bradford 


2,195 


5,284 


8,099 


27.1 


65.2 


92.3 


Total Incorporated 


292 


1,849 


2,673 


10.9 


69.2 


80.1 


Percent 


13.3 


35.0 


33.0 








Unincorporated 


1,903 


3,435 


5,426 


35.1 


63.3 


98.4 


Percent 


86.7 


65.0 


67.0 








Columbia 


5,820 


10,027 


17,818 


32.7 


56.3 


88.9 


Total Incorporated 


318 


3,065 


4,633 


6.9 


66.2 


73.0 


Percent 


5.5 


30.6 


26.0 








Unincorporated 


5,502 


6,962 


13,185 


41.7 


52.8 


94.5 



1-6 



TABLE 1.4, Cont'd. 

NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF MOBILE HOMES AND CONVENTIONAL DETACHED 
SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DWELLING UNITS BY INCORPORATED AND 

UNINCORPORATED LOCATION, 1990 





Total 


Percent of Total 


Area 


Mobile Homes 


SFR, Detached 


Housing Units 


Mobile Homes 


SFRs 


Mobile Homes & SFRs 


Percent 


94.5 


69.4 


74.0 








Dixie 


3,355 


2,862 


6,445 


52.1 


44.4 


96.5 


Total Incorporated 


374 


860 


1,299 


28.8 


66.2 


95.0 


Percent 


11. 1 


30.0 


20.2 








Unincorporated 


2,981 


2,002 


5,146 


57.9 


38.9 


96.8 


Percent 


88.9 


70.0 


79.8 








Gilchrist 


1,997 


1,977 


4,071 


49.1 


48.6 


97.6 


Total Incorporated 


319 


530 


917 


34.8 


57.8 


92.6 


Percent 


16.0 


26.8 


22.5 








Unincorporated 


1,678 


1,447 


3,154 


53.2 


45.9 


99.1 


Percent 


84.0 


73.2 


77.5 








Hamilton 


1,486 


2,314 


4,119 


36.1 


56.2 


92.3 


Total Incorporated 


239 


965 


1,462 


16.3 


66.0 


82.4 


Percent 


16.1 


41.7 


35.5 








Unincorporated 


1,247 


1,349 


2,657 


46.9 


50.8 


97.7 


Percent 


83.9 


58.3 


64.5 








Percent 


11.4 


18.0 


16.9 








Unincorporated 


762 


1,086 


1,882 


40.5 


57.7 


98.2 


Percent 


88.6 


82.0 


83.1 








Madison 


1,872 


3,978 


6,275 


29.8 


63.4 


93.2 


Total Incorporated 


169 


1,361 


1,866 


9.1 


72.9 


82.0 


Percent 


9.0 


34.2 


29.7 








Unincorporated 


1,703 


2,617 


4,409 


38.6 


59.4 


98.0 


Percent 


91.0 


65.8 


70.3 








Suwannee 


4,776 


6,133 


11,699 


40.8 


52.4 


93.2 


Total Incorporated 


647 


2,181 


2,984 


21.7 


73.1 


94.8 



1-7 



TABLE 1.4, Cont'd. 



r 



NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF MOBILE HOMES AND CONVENTIONAL DETACHED 
SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DWELLING UNITS BY INCORPORATED AND 

UNINCORPORATED LOCATION, 1990 





Total 


Percent of Total 


Area 


Mobile Homes 


SFR, Detached 


Housing Units 


Mobile Homes 


SFRs 


Mobile Homes & SFRs 


Percent 


13.5 


35.6 


25.5 








Unincorporated 


4,129 


3,952 


8,715 


47.4 


45.3 


92.7 


Percent 


86.5 


64.4 


74.5 








Taylor 


2,627 


4,822 


7,908 


33.2 


61.0 


94.2 


Total Incorporated 


361 


2,191 


2,898 


12.5 


75.6 


88.1 


Percent 


13.7 


45.4 


36.6 








Unincorporated 


2,266 


2,631 


5,010 


45.2 


52.5 


97.7 


Percent 


86.3 


54.6 


63.4 








Union 


1,153 


1,544 


2,975 


38.8 


51.9 


90.7 


Total Incorporated 


259 


487 


976 


26.5 


49.9 


76.4 


Percent 


22.5 


31.5 


32.8 








Unincorporated 


894 


1,057 


1,999 


44.7 


52.9 


97.6 


Percent 


77.5 


68.5 


67.2 








Region 


36,337 


78,264 


150,697 


24.1 


51.9 


76.0 


Total Incorporated 


4,899 


36,089 


60,466 


8.1 


59.7 


67.8 


Percent 


13.5 


46.1 


40.1 






9 


Unincorporated 


31,438 


42,175 


90,231 


34.8 


46.7 


81.6 


Percent 


86.5 


53.9 


59.9 








Region w/o Al. Co. 


25,349 


40,912 


71,598 


35.4 


57.1 


92.5 


Total Incorporated 


3,076 


13,727 


20,092 


15.3 


68.3 


83.6 


Percent 


12.1 


33.6 


28.1 








Unincorporated 


23,065 


26,538 


51,583 


44.7 


51.4 


96.2 


Percent 


91.0 


64.9 


72.0 









Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. Summary Tape File 3 A, 
Washington, DC. 1992. 



1-8 



HOUSING QUALITY 

PLUMBING FACILITIES 

The region experienced a significant reduction in the percentage of units with inadequate plumbing 
between 1980 and 1990, as illustrated in Table 1.5. In 1980, 3.6 percent of all dwelling units in the 
region lacked some or all plumbing facilities. By 1990, the percentage was reduced to just 1.1 
percent, representing a 58.5 percent decline over 1980 levels. The percentage reduction was not a 
mere statistical aberration caused by an increase in the number of new units. Rather, the region 
experienced an actual decline in the number of units lacking some or all plumbing facilities. In 1980, 
4,131 dwelling units lacked some or all plumbing facilities. By 1990, the number had dropped to 
1,716. 

North central Florida housing quality may be considered somewhat below the state average when 
measured in terms of the percentage of total year-round units lacking some or all plumbing facilities. 
As illustrated in Table 1.5, the percentage of north central Florida units lacking plumbing facilities 
was twice as high as the 1 990 statewide rate. However, the region's incidence of units lacking some 
or all plumbing facilities was actually quite low. Only 1.1 percent of the 1990 regional housing stock 
lacked complete plumbing facilities. The relatively high incidence of inadequate plumbing was most 
likely due to the rural nature of the region. When Alachua County is removed from consideration, 
the remaining region's percentage of total 1990 units lacking some or all plumbing facilities jumps 
to 1 .6 percent. Counties with the highest incidence of housing with inadequate plumbing facilities 
in 1990 were Dixie (2.6%), Madison (2.7%), and Gilchrist (1.9%). 

OVERCROWDING 

Another measure of housing quality is overcrowding, which is commonly defined as a dwelling unit 
with more than 1.0 persons (residents) per room. As can be seen in Table 1.6, the region's 1990 
percentage of households with more than 1 .0 persons per room was 4.7 percent. This figure is lower 
than the region's 1980 rate of 6.9 percent and is less than the 1990 statewide rate of 5.4 percent. The 
region's experience favorably contrasts with statewide trends where an increasing percentage of units 
are overcrowded. The 1990 statewide figure of 5.4 percent was 58.8 percent higher than the 1980 
statewide rate of 3.4 percent. With the exception of Alachua and Union counties, every north central 
Florida county experienced a decline in the percentage of overcrowded units during the 1980s. 
Nevertheless, Union (9.0%), Hamilton (8.3%), and Madison (7.3%) counties experienced rates of 
overcrowding in 1 990 significantly above the statewide average. 

Despite a decline in the percentage of overcrowded housing units, the actual number of overcrowded 
units increased during the 1980s. As indicated in Table 1.6, the region experienced a 7.6 percent 
increase in the number of overcrowded units between 1980 and 1990, rising from 5,776 to 6,214. 

Union County experienced the largest percentage increase, reporting a 53.8 percent increase in the 
county's number of overcrowded units. Other counties experiencing substantial increases include 
Gilchrist (31.5%), Alachua (22.0%), Dixie (8.1%), and Hamilton (7.8%). Nevertheless, most of the 
increase can be attributed to Alachua County. When Alachua County is removed from regional totals, 
the remaining region experienced a 2.7 percent decline in total units overcrowded between 1980 and 
1990. 



1-9 



TABLE 1.5 

NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL DWELLING UNITS LACKING 
COMPLETE PLUMBING FACILITIES, 1980 & 1990 



r 





1980 


1990 


Change, 1980 - 1990 






Lacking Complete 




Lacking Complete 


Lacking Complete 




Total 


Plumbing 


Facilities 


Total 


Plumbing Facilities 


Plumbing Facilities 
















Area 


Units 


Number 


Percent 


Units 


Number 


Percent 


Number 


Percent 


Alachua 


58,947 


1,150 


2.0 


79,022 


562 


0.7 


588 


(51.1) 


Bradford 


7,249 


331 


4.6 


8,099 


61 


0.8 


270 


(81.6) 


Columbia 


13,628 


457 


3.4 


17,818 


283 


1.6 


174 


(38.1) 


Dixie 


4,010 


201 


5.0 


5,445 


140 


2.6 


61 


(30.3) 


Gilchrist 


2,647 


134 


5.1 


4,071 


76 


1.9 


58 


(43.3) 


Hamilton 


3,342 


259 


7.7 


4,119 


69 


1.7 


190 


(73.4) 


Lafayette 


1,764 


67 


3.8 


2,266 


28 


1.2 


39 


(58.2) 


Madison 


5,557 


661 


11.9 


6,275 


167 


2.7 


494 


(74.7) 


Suwannee 


8,765 


430 


4.9 


11,699 


153 


1.3 


277 


(64.4) 


Taylor 


6,982 


332 


4.8 


7,908 


142 


1.8 


190 


(57.2) 


Union 


2,329 


109 


4.7 


2,975 


35 


1.2 


74 


(67.9) 


Region 


115,220 


4,131 


3.6 


149,697 


1,716 


1.1 


2,415 


(58.5) 


w/o Al. Co. 


56,273 


2,981 


5.3 


70,675 


1,154 


1.6 


1,827 


(61.3) 


Florida 


4,378,691 


34,243 


0.8 


6,100,262 


27,957 


0.5 


6,286 


(18.4) 



Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. Summary Tape File 3A. 
Washington, D.C. 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Housing: General Housing Characteristics. 
Florida . Tables 1 & 46. Washington, D.C. 1982. 



1-10 



TABLE 1.6 

OVERCROWDING. NUMBER AND PERCENTAGE OF OCCUPIED 
YEAR-ROUND HOUSING WITH 1.01 OR MORE PERSONS PER ROOM 

1980 AND 1990 





Persons per Room 






Nuir 


ber 




Percent 




1980 


1990 


1980 
1.01 + 


1990 
1.01 + 


Pet. Chge 


Area 


0-1.00 


1.01 + 


0-1.00 


1.01 + 


1980 -90 


Aachua 


52197 


2,410 


68,318 


2,940 


4.4 


4.1 


22.0 


Bradford 


5,919 


378 


6,943 


250 


6.0 


3.5 


(33.9) 


Columbia 


11,429 


754 


14,827 


784 


6.2 


5.0 


4.0 


Dixie 


2,465 


198 


3,702 


214 


7.4 


5.5 


8.1 


Gilchrist 


1,882 


124 


3,121 


163 


6.2 


5.0 


31.5 


Hamilton 


2,634 


270 


3,197 


291 


9.3 


8.3 


7.8 


Lafayette 


1,341 


72 


1,647 


74 


5.1 


4.3 


2.8 


Madison 


4,492 


485 


5,120 


402 


9.7 


7.3 


(17.1) 


Suwannee 


7,238 


501 


9,557 


477 


6.5 


4.8 


(4.8) 


Taylor 


5,398 


428 


6,022 


379 


7.3 


5.9 


(11.4) 


Union 


1,963 


156 


2,418 


240 


7.4 


9.0 


53.8 


Region 


96,958 


5,776 


124,872 


6,214 


6.9 


4.7 


7.6 


w/o Al Co 


44,761 


3,366 


56,554 


3,274 


7.5 


5.8 


(2.7) 


Florida 


3,545,809 


198,445 


4,857,803 


277,066 


5.3 


5.4 


39.6 



Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing . Florida. Summary Tape File 3A. 
Washington, D.C. 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Housing: General Housing Characteristics. Florida . 
Tables 1 & 45. Washington, D.C. 1982. 



Ml 



HOUSING COSTS AND INCOME 

c 

During the 1970s, the rate of increase in north central Florida household income did not keep pace 
with housing costs. As indicated in Table 1.7, the average increase in value for north central Florida 
owner-occupied dwelling units was 177.6 percent in the 1970s while median contract rent increased 
by 127.8 percent. However, as indicated in Table 1.8, median household income for north central 
Florida increased by only 67.7 percent during the same time period. 

During the 1 980s, income kept pace with the costs of owner-occupied housing but continued to lag 
increases in contract rents. During this period, the median value of north central Florida owner- 
occupied housing units rose by 69.9 percent; whereas, the region's median household income 
increased by approximately 73.7 percent. 12 In fact, as indicated in tables 3.7 and 3.8, the rate of 
increase in median household income exceeded the rate of increase in the median value of owner- 
occupied housing in all but three north central Florida counties (Suwannee, Taylor, and Union) during 
this time period. 

As may be expected, given north central Florida's below-average income levels and above-average 
poverty rates, the region's 1990 median value of owner-occupied units and the median rent of renter- 
occupied units are correspondingly lower than their respective statewide averages. In 1 990, Alachua 
County had the region's highest median value for owner-occupied dwelling units at $65,500, 
compared to a statewide median value of $76,500. As indicated in Table 1.7, north central Florida 
counties with the lowest median values were Hamilton ($33,700), Madison ($38,200), and Dixie 
($38,500). 

Median values for 1 990 contract rents in north central Florida were similarly low. As presented in 
Table 1.7, no north central Florida county reported a 1990 median monthly rent higher than the 
statewide average of $481. Alachua County had the highest median rent at $396. North central 
Florida counties reporting the lowest median monthly contract rents were Hamilton ($242), Madison 
($249), and Lafayette ($255). 

Between 1980 and 1990, the median contract rent for north central Florida increased by approximately 121.3 
percent, which was approximately the same rate of increase experienced during the 1 970s, when rates increased 
by 127.8 percent. During the 1980s, no north central Florida county experienced a rate of increase in median 
annual income in excess of its rate of increase in median contract rent. The rate of increase in the region's 
median contract rent was below the statewide median contract rent increase of 13 1 .3 percent. The region's this 
relatively low percentage increase in median contract rent is skewed by the presence of Alachua County. When 
Alachua County is removed from consideration, rents increased dramatically for the remaining 10-county area. 
As indicated in Table 1 .7, every north central Florida county, with the exception of Alachua County, 
experienced a rate of increase in median contract rent in excess of the statewide rate during this time period. 

In terms of actual dollars, the region's increase in median monthly contract rent was less than the state average. 
Statewide, monthly contract rent increased by $199 during the 1980s, compared to the regionwide increase of 
$141 . Similarly, the seemingly small difference between statewide and regional rates of increase in value for 
owner-occupied housing is actually quite different when viewed in terms of actual dollars. Statewide, the 
median value of owner-occupied housing increased by $31,400 during the 1980s, compared to the region's 
increase of $22,123. 



12 The regionwide figure is the statistical mean of county median values. It does not represent a true median 
value as this information cannot be obtained from 1990 census publications. 

1-12 






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TABLE 1.8 
MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME, 1969, 1979, AND 1989 





Median Household Income 


Percentage Change 


Area 


1969 


1979 


1989 


1969-79 


1979-89 


1969-89 


Alachua 


8,329 


12,354 


22,084 


48.3 


78.8 


165.1 


Bradford 


6,905 


11,816 


24,625 


71.1 


108.4 


256.6 


Columbia 


7,354 


12,794 


21,961 


74.0 


71.7 


198.6 


Dixie 


5,666 


9,631 


15,380 


70.0 


59.7 


171.4 


Gilchrist 


6,213 


10,778 


20,632 


73.5 


91.4 


232.1 


Hamilton 


5,733 


10,565 


18,709 


84.3 


77.1 


226.3 


Lafayette 


5,638 


11,090 


20,744 


96.7 


87.1 


267.9 


Madison 


5,743 


10,169 


18,153 


77.1 


78.5 


216.1 


Suwannee 


5,903 


12,775 


19,755 


116.4 


54.8 


235.0 


Taylor 


6,814 


15,784 


21,380 


131.6 


35.5 


213.8 


Union 


6,317 


14,506 


22,831 


129.6 


57.4 


261.4 


Region" 


7,376 


12,369 


21,489 


67.7 


73.7 


191.3 


w/o Al. Co.* 


6,467 


12,385 


20,780 


91.5 


67.8 


221.3 


Florida 


6,476 


14,675 


27,483 


126.6 


87.3 


324.4 



Regional totals represent the weighted statistical mean of the county median values. 

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. 
Summary Tape File 3 A. Washington, D.C. 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Population: General Social and 
Economic Characteristics. Florida. Tables 71 & 180. Washington, D.C. 1982. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population: Characteristics of the 
Population. Florida. Table 44. Washington, D.C. 1972. 



1-14 



As indicated in Table 1.8, the rate of increase in north central Florida median household income 
slowed during the 1980s. During the 1970s, the rate of increase in the region's median household 
income was 87.3 percent compared to 71.1 percent during the 1980s. The regional rates of increase 
were less than the statewide increases of 126.6 percent during the 1970s and 87.3 percent during the 
1980s. 

While the region's rate of increase in median household income remained constant during the 1 970s 
and the 1980s, the actual dollar increase was larger during the 1980s than the 1970s. As can be 
derived from Table 1.8, the increase in regional median household income during the 1970s was 
$4,993; in the 1980s it was $9,120. As with most comparisons with statewide averages, the region 
lagged the statewide increases of $8,199 during the 1970s and $12,808 during the 1980s. 

AFFORDABILITY 

Despite a widening gap between north central Florida median income and median rent, additional 1 990 
census data suggests the region's households kept pace with housing costs during the 1980s. As 
indicated in Table 1.9, 61.3 percent of the region's renters spent 25.0 percent or more of their annual 
income on housing costs in 1980. In 1990, the rate was 61.5 percent. North central Florida 
homeowners experienced a decrease in the percentage of households spending 25.0 percent or more 
of their annual income on housing costs, dropping from 28.2 percent in 1980 to 26.1 percent in 1990. 
The region's experience contrasts somewhat with statewide rates, where a slight decline in housing 
affordability was experienced by homeowners. In 1980, 56.6 percent of the state's renters and 26.6 
percent of the state's homeowners spent 25.0 percent or more of their annual household income on 
housing. By 1990, these figures had increased to 57.5 and 28.3 percent, respectively. 13 

As indicated in Table 1.9, some north central Florida counties experienced a decline in housing 
affordability during the 1980s. Dixie, Hamilton, and Union counties experienced noticeable increases 
in the percentage of renters paving 25.0 percent or more of their annual household income for gross 
rent between 1980 and 1990. Meanwhile, Columbia, Dixie, Lafayette, Madison, and Suwannee 
counties experienced increases in the percentage of homeowners spending 25.0 percent or more of 
their annual household income on housing costs during this time period. 15 



The 1980 census does not provide housing cost information at 30.0 percent of household income, the new 
standard by which housing affordability is measured; therefore, 25.0 percent is used for comparison purposes. 

The 1990 census defines gross rent as the monthly contract rent plus the estimated average cost of utilities 
(electricity, gas, and water) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid for by the renters. 

The 1990 census defines monthly owner costs as the sum of payments for mortgages, deeds of trust, contracts 
to purchase or similar debts on the property (including payments for the first mortgage, second or junior mortgages, 
and home' equity loans); real estate taxes; fire, hazard and flood insurance on the property; utilities (electricity, gas, 
and water); and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). It also includes, where appropriate, the monthly condominium 
fee for condominiums and mobile home costs (personal property taxes, site rent, registration fees, and license fees) 
for mobile homes. 

1-15 



TABLE 1.9 

PERCENTAGE OF HOUSEHOLDS SPENDING 25.0 PERCENT 
OR MORE OF ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME ON HOUSING COSTS 

BY TENURE, 1980 & 1990 



r 





Year 




1980.0 


1990.0 




Renters 


Homeowners 


Renters 


Homeowners 


Area 


to 24% 


25%+ 


to 24% 


25%+ 


to 24% 


25%+ 


to 24% 


25%+ 


Alachua 

Bradford 

Columbia 

Dixie 

Gilchrist 

Hamilton 

Lafayette 

Madison 

Suwannee 

Taylor 

Union 


33.9 
48.8 
49.9 
52.2 
35.6 
57.6 
48.6 
46.5 
52.0 
51.6 
68.9 


66.1 
51.2 
50.1 
47.8 
64.4 
42.2 
51.4 
53.5 
48.0 
48.4 
31.1 


68.6 
70.8 
76.7 
77.7 
70.9 
75.5 
78.4 
75.1 
76.5 
76.7 
75.0 


31.4 
29.2 
23.3 
22.3 
29.1 
24.5 
21.6 
24.9 
23.5 
23.3 
25.0 


35.4 
48.0 
46.1 
45.4 
47.5 
42.0 
63.9 
45.3 
41.6 
49.7 
63.3 


64.6 
52.0 
53.9 
54.6 
52.5 
58.0 
36.1 
54.7 
58.4 
50.3 
36.7 


72.7 
75.6 
74.9 
71.8 
79.8 
81.6 
69.4 
70.6 
72.6 
80.1 
79.5 


27.3 
24.4 
25.1 
28.2 
20.2 
18.4 
30.6 
29.4 
27.6 
19.9 
20.5 


Region 
w/o Al. Co. 
Florida 


38.7 

51.3 
43.4 


61.3 
48.7 
56.6 


71.8 
75.4 
73.4 


28.2 
24.6 
26.6 


38.5 
47.0 

42.5 


61.5 
53.0 

57.5 


73.9 

75.4 
71.7 


26.1 
24.6 
28.3 



Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. Summary 
Tape File 3 A. Washington, D.C. 1992. 



U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. Summary 
Tape File 3A. Microfiche tables 132 & 139. Washington, D.C. March 3, 1983. 

While the previous tables suggest that housing affordability is improving for the region's homeowners, 
they also suggest that a significant proportion of the population, particularly renters, are paying more 
for housing than they can afford. Tables 1.10 and 1.11 examine housing affordability for renters by 
income group based upon the new state affordability standard of no more than 30.0 percent of annual 
household income spent on housing costs. As can be seen, and as could be expected, the lowest 
household income groups have the highest percentage of households paying 30.0 percent or more of 
their annual income for housing costs. Additionally, the percentage of renters paying 30.0 percent or 
more of their annual household income for housing costs is significantly higher than homeowners 
throughout all income categories. 



1-16 






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Table 1.10 reveals that the housing affordability issue is particularly acute for renters with household 
incomes of less than $10,000 per year. Fully 87.6 percent of all north central Florida renters earning less 
than $10,000 per year paid 30.0 percent or more of their annual household income on gross rent in 1989. 
Conversely, no north central Florida renter earning $50,000 or more per year paid 30.0 percent or more 
of his/her annual household income on gross rent. The same trend applies to homeowners. As indicated 
in Table 1 .1 1, 53.4 percent of all north central Florida homeowners earning less than $10,000 per year 
paid 30.0 percent or more of their annual household income for housing costs. Conversely, only 1.5 
percent of all north central Florida homeowners earning $50,000 or more per year paid 30.0 percent or 
more for housing costs. 

North central Florida households generally pay less than the state average for housing costs when 
measured as a percentage of annual income. Statewide, 55.2 percent of all renters and 18.1 percent of 
all homeowners spent 30.0 percent or more of their annual household income on housing in 1 990. While 
this trend generally holds true across most income categories, the regional average is comparable to 
statewide rates for renters with annual household incomes of less than $10,000 (87.6% for the region 
vs. 86.9% statewide) and substantially higher for homeowners with annual household incomes between 
$10,000 and $19,999 (32.9% for the region vs. 10.0% statewide). 

Alachua (54.7%), Hamilton (49.8%) Columbia (49.5%), and Madison (46.3%) counties had higher than 
(statewide) average percentage of renters spending 30.0 percent or more of their annual household 
income on gross rent. Among homeowners, Lafayette (24.8%), Dixie (22.4%), and Madison (19.7%) 
counties had higher (statewide) average percentage of households spending 30.0 percent or more of their 
annual household income on housing costs. 

The previous tables reveal that a substantial portion of the region's lower income renters and 
homeowners experienced difficulties obtaining affordable housing during the 1980s. Table 1.12 
concentrates on lower-income households. Table 1.12 reveals that, in 1990, north central Florida 
households with 1989 annual incomes of less than $20,000 paying 30.0 percent or more of their annual 
household income for housing represents 62.3 percent of all households with 1989 annual incomes of 
less than $20,000 per year. Renters with annual incomes of less than $20,000 paying 30.0 percent or 
more of their annual household income for housing represents 73.3 percent of all renter housholds with 
annual incomes of less than $20,000. Fully 42.0 percent percent of homeowners with 1989 incomes of 
less than $20,000 paid 30.0 percent or more of their annual incomes for housing during the same time 
period. All households (renters and homeowners) with annual incomes of less than $20,000 paying 30.0 
percent or more of their annual household income for housing represents 62.3 percent of all such 
households. 

Even when Alachua County with its large college student population is excluded from consideration, 
renters with incomes of less than $20,000 paying 30.0 percent or more of their annual household income 
for housing represents 63.4 percent of all such renters. Similarly, the region's remaining homeowners 
with annual incomes of less than $20,000 paying 30.0 percent or more of their household income for 
housing represents 37.1 percent of all such homeowners. With Alachua County is removed from 
consideration, all households (renters and homeowners) with annual incomes of less than $20,000 per 
year paying 30.0 percent or more of their income for housing represents 49.3 percent of the region's 1990 
households with annual incomes of less than $20,000. 

The regional rates differ from statewide trends. Statewide, renters with annual incomes of less than 
$20,000 paying 30.0 percent or more of their annual incomes for gross rent represent 77.9 percent of all 
such renters, which is slightly higher than the regional rate of 73.3 percent. Homeowners statewide 
earning less than $20,000 per year paying 30.0 percent or more of their annual incomes for housing 
represent 34.2 percent of all such homeowners, which is noticably lower than the region's rate of 42.0 
percent. 



1-19 



TABLE 1.12 

NUMBER AND PERCENT OF 1990 HOUSEHOLDS WITH 1989 ANNUAL INCOMES OF LESS 
THAN $20,000 SPENDING 30.0 PERCENT OR MORE OF 1989 ANNUAL INCOME FOR 

HOUSING 





Renters 


Homeowners 


Total 


Area 


Number 


Percent 


Number 


Percent 


Number 


Percent 


Alachua 


15,614 


76.9 


3,128 


48.5 


18,742 


70.1 


Bradford 


540 


67.9 


413 


37.6 


953 


50.3 


Columbia 


1,773 


72.1 


878 


40.6 


2,651 


57.4 


Dixie 


227 


64.1 


276 


39.6 


503 


48.1 


Gilchrist 


137 


59.8 


118 


33.1 


255 


43.6 


Hamilton 


300 


67.9 


153 


26.2 


453 


44.1 


Lafayette 


37 


35.2 


114 


48.1 


151 


44.2 


Madison 


487 


61.0 


350 


37.6 


837 


48.4 


Suwannee 


652 


54.3 


461 


34.9 


1,113 


44.1 


Taylor 


410 


57.1 


350 


33.6 


760 


43.2 


Union 


188 


47.8 


104 


43.3 


292 


26.1 


Region 


20,365 


73.3 


6,345 


42.0 


26,710 


62.3 


w/o Al. Co. 


4,751 


63.4 


3,217 


37.1 


7,968 


49.3 


Florida 


5,918,940 


77.9 


151,441 


34.2 


743,335 


61.9 



Source: Derived from U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. 1990 Census of Population and 

Housing. Florida . Summary Tape File 3A. Washington, D.C. 1992. Tables H050 and H059. 



When viewed in terms ot total north central Florida households, regardless of income level, the percentage of 
north central Florida households with annual household incomes of less than $20,000 per paying 30.0 percent 
or more for housing represents 29.5 percent of all households. When Alachua County is excluded, the remaining 
households with annual household incomes of less than $20,000 paying 30.0 percent or more for housing costs 
drops to 24.5 percent of all households. The statewide rate is noticably lower, where 19.3 precent of all such 
households pay 30.0 percent or more for housing. 16 



l6 Derived from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and 
Housing. Florida . Summary Tape File 3A. Washington, D.C. 1992. Tables H050 and H059. 



1-20 






THE COMPREHENSIVE HOUSING AFFORD ABILITY STRATEGY DATABASE 

Despite U.S. census information which reveals that north central Florida households with incomes less than 
$20,000 per year spending more than they can afford for housing represents 62.3 percent of all north central 
Florida households, the U.S. Census Bureau 1990 Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) 
Database suggests that north central Florida has an adequate supply of dwelling units within the financial means 
of very-low-, low-, and moderate-income households. 

The region's surplus of affordable housing is especially significant when compared to statewide needs. 
Statewide, a housing shortage exists for the lowest income households as there are only enough affordable 
housing units for a mere 16.2 percent of households with incomes at or below 30.0 percent of the U.S. 
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-adjusted 1989 median family income. In north central 
Florida, the CHAS database suggests the situation is just the reverse, reporting that the region has enough 
affordable units to meet 1 17.8 percent of its households within this income group. The region also has a surplus 
of housing units affordable to households with incomes between 3 1 .0 to 80.0 percent of the HUD-adjusted 1989 
median family income. As indicated in Table 1.13, these surpluses exist in every county and every lower- 
income group except in Alachua County, where a shortage of affordable housing exists for households at or 
below 30.0 percent of the HUD-adjusted 1989 median family income. 

The CHAS Database indicates the region has a surplus of affordable housing for very low-, low-, and moderate- 
income households. For households with income levels at 81.0 percent and above the 1990 HUD-adjusted 
median family income, there are only enough affordable units for 54.9 percent of the region's households. This 
figure suggests that households within this income group can afford to pay more for housing as they are likely 
residing in housing for which they could afford to pay more, given the region's surplus of housing units 
affordable to lower income populations. 

There are several possible explanations as to why the CHAS Database contrasts so sharply with the 1 990 census 
data. The region may be experiencing an allocation problem where, although an adequate supply of affordable 
housing exists for lower-income groups, these households are not occupying the units which they can afford. 
Possible explanations include an inadequate number of bedrooms in units affordable to lower income 
households, requiring them to live in larger and more expensive housing units, or housing locations which are 
inconvenient for travelling to work. 



17 

The CHAS Database defines "affordable housing" as dwelling units for which a family would pay no more 
than 30 percent of their income for rent and no more than 2.5 times their annual income to purchase. 

1-21 



TABLE 1.13 

HOUSING AFFORD ABILITY. NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS AND 

NUMBER OF HOUSING UNITS AFFORDABLE BY PERCENTAGE 

OF 1989 HUD- AD JUSTED MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME (HAMFI) 





0-30% of HAMFI 


31-50% of HAMFI 


Area 


No. of 
Households 


No. of 

Affordable 
Units 


Affordable Units as a 

Percentage of 

Households 


No. of 
Households 


No. of Affordable 
Units 


Affordable Units 

as a Percentage of 

Households 


Alachua 

Bradford 

Columbia 

Dixie 

Gilchrist 

Hamilton 

Lafayette 

Madison 

Suwannee 

Taylor 

Union 


12,837 

1,005 

2,145 

811 

389 

690 

286 

1,008 

1,272 

799 

312 


9,401 
1,717 

3,192 
1,322 

763 
1,322 

524 
1,901 
2,520 
1,828 

902 


73.2 
170.8 
148.8 
163.0 
196.1 
191.6 
183.2 
188.6 
198.1 
228.8 
289.1 


8,969 
936 

1,703 
658 
444 
464 
240 
871 

1,340 
923 
278 


12,471 

2,243 

4,092 

1,277 

843 

986 

389 

1,249 

2,683 

1,674 

708 


139.0 

239.6 

240.3 

194.1 

189.9 

212.5 

162.1 

143.3 

200.2 I 

181.4 

254.7 


Region 
w/o A I. Co. 
Florida 


21,554 

8,717 

2,883,734 


25,392 

15,991 

466,027 


117.8 

183.4 

16.2 


16,826 

7,857 

558,210 


28,615 

16,144 

654,962 


170.1 
205.5 
117.3 



1-22 






TABLE 1.13, Cont'd. 

HOUSING AFFORD ABILITY. NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS AND 

NUMBER OF HOUSING UNITS AFFORDABLE BY PERCENTAGE 

OF 1989 HUD- AD JUSTED MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME (HAMFI) 





51-80% of HAMFI 


81% of HAMFI & Above 














Affordable Units 






No. Of 


Affordable Units as a 




No. Of 


as a Percentage of 




No. Of 


Affordable 


Percentage of 


No. Of Households 


Affordable 


Households 


Area 


Households 


Units 


Households 




Units 




Alachua 


11,649 


29,949 


257.1 


37,840 


23,941 


643.3 


Bradford 


1,327 


1,889 


142.4 


3,930 


1,680 


42.7 


Columbia 


2,545 


4,861 


191.0 


9,257 


4,266 


46.1 


Dixie 


810 


998 


123.2 


1,746 


660 


37.8 


Gilchrist 


636 


872 


137.1 


1,828 


933 


51.0 


Hamilton 


546 


760 


139.2 


1,790 


585 


32.7 


Madison 


1,000 


1,333 


133.3 


2,654 


1,227 


46.2 


| Suwannee 


1,991 


2,554 


128.3 


5,427 


2,683 


49.4 


Taylor 


1,091 


1,589 


145.6 


3,587 


1,660 


46.3 


Union 


522 


590 


113.0 


1,545 


583 


37.7 


Region 


22,354 


45,741 


204.6 


70,560 


38,729 


54.9 


w/o Al. Co. 


10,705 


15,792 


147.5 


32,720 


14,788 


45.2 


Florida 


899,423 


1,947,690 


216.5 


3,112,693 


2,359,821 


75.8 



Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, The Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) 
Database . Washington, D.C. September, 1993. 

Another explanation may lie in the manner in which the CHAS Database reports its information. The 
CHAS database reports number of households and affordable units by four income classes; 0-30 percent, 
3 1-50 percent, 51-80 percent, and over 80 percent of the HUD-Adjusted Median Family Income. Such 
reporting does not guarantee that all households within a specified income class can afford each and 
every housing unit deemed affordable for the prescribed income class. It is entirely possible that most 
of the housing units within a specified income class are only affordable to households with incomes in 
the upper end of the specified income range while, at the same time most of the households within an 
income class could have an average household income within the lower portion of the specified income 
range. Under these circumstances, it is easy to see how the majority of lower income households could 
not afford housing purportedly affordable for their specified income range. 



1-23 



While census data is not without fault, tables 1.1 through 1.12, which are derived directly from the 
decennial census, are the more reliable indicators of affordable housing needs as the census data makes 
a direct connection between the household's income and the percentage of household annual income 
spent on housing. 

GOVERNMENT-ASSISTED HOUSING 

The Florida Department of Community Affairs 1 993 Comprehensive Housing Affordabilitv Strategy 
Annual Performance Report notes that, in the past 10 years (1983-1993), funding for the federal 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, the primary source of government funds for 
government-subsidized housing, has declined by 80 percent. Although $2 billion in federal housing 
funds were spent in Florida in 1990, Florida ranks 48th in per capita federal expenditures on housing. 

In response to declining federal monies, the State of Florida has developed a number of state-funded 
housing programs through the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act of 1 992, including the State 
Housing Initiatives Program (SHIP), the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program, and the Home 
ownership Assistance Program (HAP), which have found innovative ways to combine public and private 
resources to creat e needed housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families. 

Through the Sadowski Act, local governments can meet the affordable housing goals of their 
comprehensive plans. The revenue stream for state housing programs developed through the Sadowski 
Act is generated from two sources, an increase in the documentary stamp tax on lands and other real 
property of $0.10 per $100, and beginning July 1, 1995, a portion of existing documentary stamp taxes 
will be transferred from general revenue to housing. For fiscal year 1992-93 this means $37.5 million 
for affordable housing. The funding increases to $50.3 million in FY 1993-94 and $54.9 in FY 1994-95. 
After FY 1995-96, an estimated $1 14.2 million will be generated annually. The new funds will be 
divided equally between local and state governments. 

Table 1.14, below, is a compilation of government housing assistance programs compiled in the 1993 
CHAS Annual Performance Report prepared by the Florida Department of Community Affairs. Before 
discussing the table, it is necessary to understand the table's data limitations. 

The CHAS annual report includes county-level data for 40 different state and federal government 
housing assistance programs and represents most, but not all, of the major government housing programs 
available in the state. The type of assistance provided by these programs ranges from public housing, 
which represents very high levels of government assistance on a per unit basis, to home weatherization 
assistance and loan guarantee programs, which represent a relatively low level of financial assistance 
on a per unit basis. 

Much of the CHAS annual report data represents number of units assisted through October, 1993. 
Information on the number of total housing units by county and statewide in 1993 is not readily 
available. Therefore, when reporting percentage of total housing units receiving government assistance 
in Table 1.14, total housing units represents 1990 total housing units as reported in the 1990 census and 
the number of units receiving government assistance represents all units through October, 1993, as 
identified in the 1 993 CHAS report. This approach is thought to upwardly skew the percentage of total 
units receiving government assistance. The percentage is further upwardly skewed as a single dwelling 
unit may receive assistance from two or more government programs. The CHAS report does not adjust 
its numbers to take into account units receiving assistance from multiple government programs. 



1-24 



As suggested by Table 1.14, north central Florida has an above-average incidence of government- 
assisted housing. Slightly over 10.0 percent of the region's housing stock has enjoyed some form of 
government assistance, compared to 5.7 percent statewide. While every north central Florida county has 
a higher incidence of government subsidized housing than the state average, rates vary widely from 
county to county. The rate of subsidy ranges from a low of 9.3 percent in Alachua County to a high of 
24.2 percent in Union County. 

While the region has a relatively high percentage of government-subsidized units, many of these units 
are Rural Economic and Community Development Service units or units which have received relatively 
minor levels of government subsidy. 18 While such assistance is valuable to moderate income 
households, the major federal housing programs for very low- and low-income persons have historically 
been public housing units and Section 8 housing programs. The region has a higher than average 
percentage of total housing units comprised of federal public housing and Section 8 units. The region's 
incidence of public housing and Section 8 housing is 2.8 percent, which is 8.0 percent higher than the 
statewide rate of 2.5 percent. However, the region's 1989 poverty rate of 21.3 percent is 67.7 percent 
greater than the statewide poverty rate of 12.7 percent. These figures suggest that the region should 
receive an even larger share of Section 8 and public housing units when differences between regional 
and statewide poverty rates are taken into account. 

Most of the region's public housing and Section 8 housing was built prior to the 1980s when federal 
funding for housing programs was severely cut and regional poverty rates may have differed from those 
of today. Section 8 units are of particular concern since there is only a limited period of time for which 
these units are eligible to receive federal subsidies. The time period for which many north central 
Florida Section 8 units are eligible to receive federal assistance is anticipated to expire within the next 
ten years. 



18 Formerly known as the Farmers Home Administration. 



1-25 



TABLE 1.14 

GOVERNMENT-ASSISTED HOUSING 3 
DWELLING UNITS ASSISTED AND PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENT HOUSING SUBSIDY 

PROGRAMS 









Area 




























w/o 




























Regi 


Al. 


Flori 


Program 


AL 


BR 


CO 


Dl 


GI 


HA 


LA 


MA 


SU 


TA 


UN 


on 


Co. 


da 


Number of Units 






























TOTAL PUBLIC HOUSING 


950 





80 





10 











124 





122 


1,286 


336 


44,42 


TOTAL SECTION 8 


2,01 


106 


277 














224 


127 


100 


48 


2,897 


882 


112,2 


OTHER FEDERAL 


3,34 


405 


724 


108 


175 


331 


57 


287 


405 


259 


138 


6,231 


2889 


95,00 


TOTAL FEDERAL 


6,30 


511 


1,08 


108 


185 


331 


57 


511 


656 


359 


308 


10,41 


4,107 


251,6 


TOTAL STATE 


1,05 


364 


455 


369 


372 


355 


347 


456 


448 


436 


411 


5,067 


4,014 


96,53 


TOTAL TOTAL 


7,35 


875 


1,53 


477 


557 


686 


404 


967 


1,10 


795 


719 


15,48 


8,121 


348,1 


Percent of Assisted Units 






























% Public Housing 


12.9 


00 


5.2 


0.0 


1.8 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


11.2 


0.0 


17.0 


8.3 


4.1 


12.8 


% Section 8 


27.4 


12.1 


18.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


23.2 


11.5 


12.6 


6.7 


18.7 


10.9 


32.2 


% Other Federal 


45.4 


46.3 


47.1 


22.6 


31.4 


48.2 


14.1 


29.7 


36.7 


32.6 


19.2 


40.3 


35.6 


27.3 


% Total Federal 


85.7 


58.4 


70.4 


22.6 


33.2 


48.2 


14.1 


52.8 


59.4 


45.1 


42.8 


67.3 


50.6 


72.3 


% Total State 


14.3 


41.6 


29.6 


77.4 


66.8 


51.8 


85.9 


47.2 


40.6 


54.9 


57.2 


32.7 


49.4 


27.7 


% Total Total 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100. 


100.0 


100.0 


100.0 


Percent of Total Units 






























% of Hsg Stock, Pub Hsg 


1.2 


0.0 


0.4 


0.0 


0.2 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


1.1 


0.0 


4.1 


0.9 


0.5 


0.7 


% of Hsg Stock, Sec 8 


2.5 


1.3 


1.6 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


0.0 


3.6 


1.1 


1.3 


1.6 


1.9 


1.2 


1.8 


% of Hsg Stock, Other Fed 


4.2 


5.0 


4.1 


2.0 


4.3 


8.0 


2.5 


4.6 


3.5 


3.3 


4.6 


4.2 


4.1 


1.6 


% of Hsg Stock, Total Fed 


8.0 


6.3 


6.1 


2.0 


4.5 


8.0 


2.5 


8.1 


5.6 


4.5 


10.4 


7.0 


5.8 


4.1 


V. of Hsg Stock, State 


1.3 


4.5 


2.6 


6.8 


9.1 


8.6 


15.3 


7.3 


3.8 


5.5 


13.8 


3.4 


5.7 


1.6 


% of Hsg Stock 






























receiving Govt Aid 


9.3 


10.8 


8.6 


8.8 


13.7 


16.7 


17.8 


15.4 


9.4 


10.1 


24.2 


10.3 


5.4 


5.7 


% of Housing Stock, 






























Less mobile homes & trailers, 






























receiving Govt. Aid 


10.7 


14.8 


12.8 


22.8 


26.9 


26.1 


28.8 


22.0 


15.9 


15.1 


39.5 


13.6 


32.6 


10.7 



Including the following government housing assistance programs: 

CDBG Small Cities program; Community Development Corporations; FmHA Rural Housing 502 & 504 Units; FmHA Farm Labor Housing; FmHA 
Rural Rental 515 Units; Federal Mortgage Insurance; Section 202 Direct Loan Elderly and Section 202 Direct Pre- 1974; Section 8, Sec. 207 
Exemption; Section 8 Sec. 207 Rental Project; Section 8 Sec. 207 Mobile Homes Court; Section 8 Sec. 207/223(F) Co-Ins Conv; Section 8 Sec. 
207/223(F) Coinsurance; Section 8 Sec. 213 Management Projects; Section 8 Sec. 221(D)(3) BMIR Units; Section 8 Sec. 221(D)(3) Market Rate; 
Section 8 Sec. 221(D)(4) Mkt Rate/Coinsur; Section 8 Sec. 221(D)(4); Section 8 Sec 236(J)(1); Section 8 Sec. 236(J)(L)/202 Elderly; Section 8 Sec. 
236(J)(L)/223(E); Section 8 Sec. 242 Hospitals; Section 8 Sec. 23 1 Elderly Housing; Section 8 Sec. 608 Veterans Housing; Section 8 Title X Land 
Dev.; Section 8 Sec. 223F Pur/Refin. Housing; Section 8 232 Nursing Home; Section 8 Sec. 232/244 Coinsurance; FloridaFix Retrofits; Low Income 
Hsg Tax Program; Predevelopment Loan Prgm; Rental Housing Bond Prgm; Section 8 Agencies & Public Hsg, Public Housing Units; Section 8 
Agencies and Public Housing Certificates; Section 8 Vouchers; Section 8 Moderate Rehab; Section 8 Non-Insured Projects; Fl Hsg Finance Agcy Ser 
8 Prjcts; SFR Mortg. Revenue Program; SAIL Program; and the Weatherization Assistance Prgm. 



Source: 1993 CHAS Annual Performance Report Florida Department of Community Affairs. Tables 2-20. December, 1993. 



AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE PLANS 

Chapter 163.3 177(6)(f)l .d., F.S. . requires local government comprehensive plans to provide 
adequate sites for future housing for very low-, low-, and moderate-income families. Chapter 9J-5, 
Florida Administrative Code (FAC), requires local government comprehensive plans to provide 
affordable housing to minimize additional local services and to avoid the concentration of affordable 
housing units only in specific areas of the jurisdiction. In addition, Chapter 9J-5.010(l)(a), FAC . 
requires the preparation of an affordable housing needs assessment as part of the housing element 
data requirements. Chapter 9J-5.010(3)(b)3, FAC . requires the goals, objectives, and policies of the 
housing element to establish adequate sites and distribution of housing for very low-, low-, and 
moderate-income families and for mobile homes. 

Every local government comprehensive plan within the north central Florida region has been found 
by the Florida Department of Community Affairs to be in compliance with the requirements of 
Chapter 163, F.S. . and FAC Rule 9J-5. None of the region's local government comprehensive plans 
mandate the construction of low- and/or moderate-income housing or the establishment of additional 
fees for the future construction of such units. Instead, the local government plans rely upon the 
private market to provide low-income housing by allowing the construction of multi-family dwelling 
units and the placement of mobile homes within their jurisdictions. 

In addition, 32 of the region's 44 local governments have either established minimum housing 
maintenance codes which address minimum standards for heating, electricity, and plumbing or have 
policies contained within their comprehensive plans calling for the adoption of a minimum housing 
maintenance code. 

PROBLEMS. NEEDS. AND OPPORTUNITIES 

The Council identifies the following affordable housing problems, needs, and opportunities: 

A need exists to reduce the percentage of the region's very low-, low-, and moderate-income 
households who spend more than 30 percent of their annual household income on housing. 

REGIONAL GOALS AND POLICIES 

REGIONAL GOAL 1.1. Reduce the percentage of the region's very low-, low-, and moderate- 
income households spending 30.0 percent or more of their annual household income on housing. 

Regional Indicators 

1. 62.3 percent of the region's 1990 households with 1989 annual incomes of less than $20,000 
per year spent 30.0 percent or more of their 1989 annual income on housing. 

2. 87.6 percent of the region's 1990 renter households with 1989 annual incomes of less than 
$10,000 per year spent 30.0 percent or more of their 1989 annual income on gross rent. 

3. 54.6 percent of the region's 1990 renter households with 1989 annual incomes between 
$10,000 and $19,999 per year spent 30.0 percent or more of their 1989 annual income on gross 
rent. 



1-27 



4. 53.4 percent of the region's 1990 homeowner households with 1989 annual incomes of less 
than $10,000 per year spent 30.0 percent or more of their 1989 annual income on gross rent. 

5. 32.9 percent of the region's 1990 homeowner households with 1989 annual incomes between 
$10,000 and $19,999 per year spent 30.0 percent or more of their 1989 annual income on gross 
rent. 

Policy 1.1.1. Provide affordable housing and multi-family dwelling units. 

Policy 1.1.2. Provide incentives, such as density bonuses, to private builders of residential dwelling 
units who construct 10.0 percent or more of their units for very low-, low-, and moderate-income 
households. 

Policy 1.1.3. Assist local governments in developing Local Housing Assistance Plans and in 
applying for SHIP funding. 

Policy 1.1.5. Provide technical assistance to local governments for the revision of Housing Elements 
contained in local government comprehensive plans. 

Policy 1.1.6. Develop and maintain estimates of the number of low-, very-low, and moderate 
income households by county for all north central Florida counties. 

Policy 1.1.7. Provide assistance to local governments in the development of Community 
Development Block Grant housing applications. 



' 



1-28 






% 



ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 



k 



STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREA: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 
CONDITIONS ANT) TRENDS STATEMENT 

INTRODUCTION 

The quality of life for the residents of north central Florida is, first and foremost, dependent upon 
a healthy regional economy. The north central Florida economic structure can be characterized as 
a combination of retail trade, health and educational services, and government employment (state 
prisons and the University of Florida). Since these industries tend to be low-paying and many 
involve non-taxable land and structures, this mixture has resulted in below-average median 
household and per capita incomes, above-average poverty rates, and a below-average local 
government tax base. Therefore, economic development, enhanced job opportunities, and an 
improved local government tax base are primary concerns of the regional plan. 

The Economic Development Conditions and Trends Statement is divided into three sections. The 
first section describes the region's population growth and population projections. The second 
section describes the region's economic structure. The third section summarizes the strengths and 
weaknesses of the region concerning economic development and explores what the region has done 
and can do to expand its economic structure. 

REGIONAL POPULATION 

As indicated in Table 2.1, the region's population increased between 1960 and 1990 at an average 
annual rate of 3.5 percent. Population growth peaked during the 1970s when the region grew by 
an average rate of 3.8 percent per year. However, the region's healthy rate of population growth 
did not keep pace with statewide growth. Between 1 960 and 1 990, Florida experienced an annual 
average population growth of 5.2 percent, peaking during the 1970s at an average annual rate of 
4.3 percent. 

Alachua County experienced the largest increase in population, increasing from 74,076 in 1960 
to 181,596 in 1990. Columbia and Suwannee counties were the next most-populous counties at 
42,6 1 3 and 26,780, respectively. Dixie and Gilchrist counties experienced the largest percentage 
increases in population during this time period at 136.3 and 237.1 percent, respectively, although 
their actual populations remain relatively small. 

Although the region has enjoyed continuous population growth since 1910, population growth has 
occurred unevenly. When the region's two most-populous counties, Alachua and Columbia, are 
excluded, Table 2.1 indicates that the remaining region reached a population peak in 1930 and did 
not approach its 1930 population until the late 1970s. In fact, Hamilton, Lafayette, and Madison 
counties had larger populations in 1910 than in 1990. 



II- 1 



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The region is anticipated to continue to grow through the year 2020, although at a slower pace than 
statewide. As indicated in Table 2.2, north central Florida's population is anticipated to rise at an 
average annual rate of 1.6 percent compared to 1.9 percent statewide. In absolute numbers, the 
region is anticipated to increase from 354,196 persons in 1990 to 521,700 by the year 2020. 
Approximately one-half of the region's year 2020 population is projected to reside in Alachua 
County. Columbia and Suwannee counties are projected to be the next two most-populous north 
central Florida counties. On a percentage basis, Dixie and Gilchrist counties are anticipated to 
experience the highest rates of growth during this period at 84.1 and 1 16.2 percent, respectively. 
Hamilton, Lafayette, and Madison counties are all projected to surpass their 1910 population peaks 
during the 1990s. 

TABLE 2.2 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA POPULATION PROJECTIONS, 1990 - 2020 





YEAR 




POPULATION 


PERCENTAGE CHANGE 


Area 


1990* 


2000 


2010 


2020 


1990 
2000 


2000 
2010 


2010 
2020 


1990 
2020 


Alachua 


181,596 


210,900 


236,200 


256,900 


16.1 


12.0 


8.8 


41.5 


Bradford 


22,515 


25,600 


27,000 


28,500 


13.7 


5.5 


5.6 


26.6 


Columbia 


42,613 


54,700 


63,400 


71,800 


28.4 


15.9 


13.2 


68.5 


Dixie 


10,585 


14,000 


16,600 


19,200 


32.3 


18.6 


15.7 


81.4 


Gilchrist 


9,667 


13,900 


17,400 


20,900 


43.8 


25.2 


20.1 


116.2 


Hamilton 


10,930 


14,200 


15,700 


17,200 


29.9 


10.6 


9.6 


57.4 


Lafayette 


5,578 


6,900 


7,600 


8,200 


23.7 


10.1 


7.9 


47.0 


Madison 


16,569 


18,800 


20,100 


21,400 


13.5 


6.9 


6.5 


29.2 


Suwannee 


26,780 


32,300 


36,900 


41,400 


20.6 


14.2 


12.2 


54.6 


Taylor 


17,111 


18,900 


19,400 


19,900 


10.5 


2.6 


2.6 


16.3 


Union 


10,252 


13,800 


15,100 


16,300 


34.6 


9.4 


7.9 


59.0 


Region 


354,196 


424,000 


475,400 


521,700 


19.7 


12.1 


9.7 


47.3 


Florida 


12,937,926 


15,527,500 


17,958,400 


20,349,700 


20.0 


15.7 


13.3 


57.3 



a Actual population. 

Source: University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1995 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 
1.84. Gainesville, Florida. 1995. 



II-3 



Table 2.3 reveals that north central Florida's percentage of total population age 65 and over is 
noticeably less than the statewide average. In 1990, 1 1 .3 percent of the region's population was age 
65 and over, compared to 20.0 percent statewide. While the region's rate of increase in persons age 
65 and over between 1970 and 1990 is about the same as experienced statewide, the region's 21.7 
percent increase during the 1980s was noticeably higher than the statewide rate of 15.8 percent for 
the same period. 

Dixie and Suwannee counties have the region's largest elderly population, representing 17.5 and 16.9 
percent of their respective county's total population. However, both of these counties are below the 
statewide average in terms of percentage of population comprised of persons age 65 and over. Dixie, 
Alachua, and Columbia counties experienced the largest increase in percent of total population 
comprised of persons age 65 and over. Between 1970 and 1990, Dixie County's percentage changed 
by 111.3 percent, while Alachua and Columbia counties increased by 46.9 and 47.1 percent, 
respectively. 

TABLE 2.3 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA 
PERCENT OF POPULATION AGE 65 AND OVER, 1970, 1980, & 1990 





Pet. of Population, Age 65+ 


, by Year 


Pet. Change in Pet of Population 


Age 65+by Year 


Area 


1970 


1980 


1990 


1970-80 


1980-90 


1970-90 


Alachua 


6.3 


7.1 


9.2 


13.0 


30.0 


46.9 


Bradford 


8.9 


10.4 


11.8 


16.4 


13.3 


31.9 


Columbia 


9.1 


10.2 


13.4 


11.8 


31.6 


47.1 


Dixie 


8.3 


12.1 


17.5 


45.7 


45.0 


111.3 


Gilchrist 


11.2 


11.0 


13.9 


(1.4) 


26.5 


24.7 


Hamilton 


12.0 


13.2 


11.4 


9.8 


(13.9) 


(5.4) 


Lafayette 


13.5 


12.2 


10.8 


(9.5) 


(11.6) 


(20.0) 


Madison 


11.8 


14.2 


14.1 


20.7 


(0.7) 


19.9 


Suwannee 


12.1 


13.9 


16.9 


15.2 


21.3 


39.7 


Taylor 


9.9 


12.7 


13.2 


28.4 


3.9 


33.4 


Union 


7.0 


6.0 


7.3 


(14.6) 


22.1 


4.3 


Region 


8.3 


9.3 


11.3 


12.6 


21.7 


37.0 


Florida 


14.6 


17.3 


20.0 


18.5 


15.8 


27.3 



Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Summary Tape File 
3A. Florida. Table PI 3, Washington, D.C., 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Population. General Population 
Characteristics. Florida. Tables 14 & 46. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population. Characteristics of th e 
Population. Florida, Table 14. 



II-4 



The region's elderly population is projected to continue to comprise an increasing proportion of the 
region's total population through the year 2010. As indicated in Table 2.4, north central Florida's 
percentage of population comprised of persons age 65 and over is anticipated to increase from 1 1.3 
percent in 1990 to 12.4 percent in 2020. The region contrasts with statewide trends, where elderly 
population as a percentage of total population is projected to decline from 20.0 percent in 1990 to 
18.4 percent by 2010. 

TABLE 2.4 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA POPULATION PROJECTIONS 
PERSONS AGE 65 AND OVER, 1990 - 2010 





Year 




Percent of Population, 
Age 65 and Over 


Percent Change in Pet. of Population, Age 65 
and Over 


Area 


1990* 


2000 


2010 


1990-2000 


2000-1010 


1990-2010 


Alachua 

Bradford 

Columbia 

Dixie 

Gilchrist 

Hamilton 

Lafayette 

Madison 

Suwannee 

Taylor 

Union 


9.2 
11.8 
13.4 
17.5 
13.9 
11.4 
10.8 
14.1 
16.9 
13.2 

7.3 


9.7 
12.7 
14.4 
17.9 
16.0 
10.8 
12.4 
13.8 
18.1 
14.3 

8.1 


10.3 
13.0 
14.6 
17.5 
16.2 
11.3 
13.1 
13.6 
17.9 
14.2 
9.2 


5.4 
7.5 
7.5 
2.3 

15.0 
(5.4) 

15.5 

(2.2) 

6.9 

9.0 

11.3 


5.8 

2.7 

1.7 

(2.2) 

1.3 

5.0 

5.7 

(1.6) 

(0.9) 

(0.9) 

13.3 


11.5 

10.4 
9.3 
0.0 

16.4 
(0.6) 

22.1 

(3.7) 

5.9 

8.0 

26.2 


Region 
Florida 


11.3 
20.0 


12.0 
18.6 


12.4 
18.4 


6.5 
(7.1) 


3.3 

a.n 


10.0 
(8.1) 



"Actual population 

Derived from the following sources: 

University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1995 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 
1.41. Gainesville, Florida. 1995. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Summary Tape 
File 3A. Florida . Table P13, Washington, D.C. 1992. 

Table 2.5 indicates that north central Florida's population growth, as with the state as a whole, has 
been fueled by in-migration as opposed to natural population increase. Table 2.5 indicates that 62.5 
percent of the region's population increase between 1960 and 1990 is attributable to net in-migration. 
This figure is somewhat below the torrid statewide rate of 85.3 percent. Only Gilchrist and Hamilton 
counties have in-migration rates comparable to the statewide rate at 86.8 and 86.5 percent 
respectively. 



II-5 



TABLE 2.5 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA 
COMPONENTS OF CHANGE IN POPULATION, 1960 - 1990 





Percent of Total Change Attributable to Natural Increase and Net Migration by Year 




1960-1970 


1970-1980 


1980-1990 


1960-1990 


Area 


Natural 
Increase 


Net 

Migration 


Natural 
Increase 


Net 

Migration 


Natural 
Increase 


Net 
Migration 


Natural 
Increase 


Net 
Migration 


Alachua 


46.0 


54.0 


24.6 


75.4 


49.7 


50.3 


37.8 


62.2 


Bradford 


56.7 


43.3 


20.5 


79.5 


49.3 


50.7 


35.5 


64.5 


Columbia 


56.5 


43.5 


25.8 


74.2 


39.5 


60.5 


37.2 


62.8 


Dixie 


91.0 


9.0 


20.1 


79.9 


18.2 


81.8 


30.8 


69.2 


Gilchrist 


45.1 


54.9 


8.6 


91.4 


10.2 


89.8 


13.2 


86.8 


Hamilton 


(1067.1) 


1167.1 


68.6 


31.4 


29.6 


70.4 


13.5 


86.5 


Lafayette 


4533.3 


(4433.3) 


16.1 


83.9 


11.5 


88.5 


18.5 


81.5 


Madison 


(231.6) 


331.6 


61.5 


38.5 


52.5 


47.5 


137.0 


(37.0) 


Suwannee 


240.5 


(140.5) 


16.6 


83.4 


13.5 


86.5 


26.8 


73.2 


Taylor 


379.7 


(279.7) 


36.2 


63.8 


183.4 


(83.4) 


99.0 


1.0 


Union 


24.5 


75.5 


20.5 


79.5 


560.5 


(460.5) 


33.5 


66.5 


Region 


56.9 


43.1 


24.6 


75.4 


41.7 


58.3 


37.5 


62.5 


Florida 


27.8 


72.2 


8.0 


92.0 


13.2 


86.8 


14.7 


85.3 



Derived from the following sources: 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports. "Components of Population Change by County: 1960 
to 1970", Series P-25, No. 461, June 1971, and the 1960 Census of Population . Washington, D.C. 

University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1981 Florida Statistical Abstract, Table 1.72. Gainesville, Fl., 1982. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Summary Tape File 3 A. Florida . 
Washington, D.C. 1992. 

Table 2.6 portrays the place of residence of north central Florida residents five years prior to the 
1970, 1980, and 1990 decennial censuses. The table indicates that, while the percentage of north 
central Florida residents living in the same county five years prior to the census is similar to the 
statewide average, the region's percentage of persons who lived in another Florida county five years 
prior is noticeably higher than the state average. Furthermore, the discrepancy between regional and 
statewide trends has grown over time. For the 1990 census, 20.3 percent of the region's population 
resided in another Florida county five years prior, compared to 8.2 percent statewide. 



- 



II-6 



^ 



TABLE 2.6 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA REGION 

PLACE OF RESIDENCE FIVE YEARS PRIOR TO DECENNIAL CENSUS 

PERSONS FIVE YEARS OLD AND OLDER 

(PERCENT) 













YEAR 












1965 


1975 


1985 








Dif. State 






Dif. State 






Dif. State 




Same 


Dif. 


or 


Same 


Dif. 


or 


Same 


Dif. 


or 


Area 


County 


County 


Abroad 


County 


County 


Abroad 


County 


County 


Abroad 


Alachua 


67.8 


19.4 


16.8 


58.1 


24.2 


17.7 


61.4 


22.0 


16.6 


Bradford 


75.6 


15.7 


8.7 


72.9 


19.7 


7.4 


72.7 


20.2 


7.1 


Columbia 


76.9 


13.4 


9.7 


72.0 


17.3 


10.7 


72.7 


17.0 


10.3 


Dixie 


79.0 


7.6 


12.7 


75.0 


16.3 


8.7 


69.4 


20.5 


10.1 


Gilchrist 


70.6 


23.9 


5.6 


66.6 


26.9 


6.5 


58.8 


28.0 


13.2 


Hamilton 


86.3 


6.1 


7.7 


85.4 


9.1 


5.5 


74.4 


18.3 


7.2 


Lafayette 


76.3 


16.8 


6.9 


85.4 


11.9 


2.6 


68.7 


24.0 


7.3 


Madison 


84.9 


11.5 


3.6 


80.4 


9.5 


10.0 


80.3 


12.7 


7.0 


Suwannee 


84.9 


10.7 


4.5 


75.0 


18.4 


6.5 


72.9 


18.4 


8.6 


Taylor 


84.1 


8.4 


7.5 


86.0 


6.4 


7.6 


80.1 


12.6 


7.3 


Union 


64.0 


24.8 


11.2 


54.3 


37.2 


8.4 


67.5 


25.3 


7.2 


Region 


72.0 


16.0 


12.0 


66.3 


20.7 


13.0 


67.0 


20.3 


12.8 


Florida 


70.9 


10.5 


18.7 


69.9 


7.8 


22.2 


71.0 


8.2 


20.8 



Derived from the following sources: 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population: Characteristics of the Population. Florida. Tables 50 & 
119. Washington, D.C., 1972. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Population: General Social and Economic Characteristics. Florida. 
Tables 65 & 174. Washington, D.C., 1982. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Summary Tape File 3A. Florida . 
Washington, DC, 1992. 



These tables support a trend observed by many north central Florida local officials. Persons moving 
into the region appear to be largely composed of retirees who previously resided in more urban 
counties located in south Florida. In-migration has not had as large an impact on overall population 
growth and, correspondingly, the region's rate of population growth has not been as high as 
experienced statewide. These trends are anticipated to continue through the year 2020. 



II-7 



DESCRIPTION OF THE REGIONAL ECONOMY 

The following section describes the regional economy as well as the impacts of the region's 
economic structure upon income, poverty, unemployment, and the local government tax base. It 
describes the current state of the region, change over time, and the economic forces at work in the 
region. 

EMPLOYMENT 19 

Nearly one-half of all employment in the region, as measured by number of employees per industry 
by place of residence, consists of Retail Trade, Education, and Health services. As indicated in 
Table 2.7, these three employment sectors comprise 17.8, 16.0, and 1 1.8 percent, respectively, of the 
region's employed workforce. Besides these sectors, the region has a higher than average percentage 
of employees in public administration. Fully 7.6 percent of the region's 1990 employed residents 
were employed in the Public Administration sector, compared with 5.0 percent statewide. 

Employment by economic sector, at least to some extent, reflects the region's rural character and 
slower growth rates. As can be seen in Table 2.7, the region has an above-average percentage of 
total employment within the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing sector compared with the statewide 
rate (4.6 and 2.9%, respectively) and a below-average percentage of total employment in 
Construction (6.0 to 7.8%) as well as Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate categories (4.5 to 8.1%). 

Alachua County dominates the regional economy. As noted in Table 2.8, Alachua County 
represented 85,785 jobs, or 56.7 percent of all employment opportunities within the region in 1990. 
Removing Alachua County from consideration, employment by economic sector in the remaining 
10-county area looks quite different. In 1990, 18.5 percent of the remainder of the region's 
employed residents were employed in Education Services and Public Administration (compared with 
27.4 percent for Alachua County), 17.7 percent in Retail Trade (compared with 17.9 percent in 
Alachua County), 7.8 percent in Health Services (compared with 14.8 percent for Alachua County), 
and 15.5 percent in general services, including Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (20.8 percent for 
Alachua County). Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries employed 7.8 percent of the remaining 10- 
county area's residents, compared with only 2.3 percent for Alachua County. 



19 Unless noted to the contrary, the Economic Development Conditions and Trends Statement discusses 
employed persons within a jurisdiction, regardless of the jurisdiction of the place of employment. Information 
regarding number of jobs by jurisdiction is regularly published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in County Business 
Patterns . However, due to the small number of employers within the region, County Business Patterns withholds 
information for certain industrial sectors for several north central Florida counties in order to prevent disclosing 
proprietary information regarding the number of employees of a specific firm. The incidence of withheld 
information prevents the use of County Business Patterns data. Decennial census employment data, which reflects 
employed residents by jurisdiction, is used in this conditions and trends statement as a substitute measure for jobs by 
jurisdiction. 

II-8 



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Alachua County, as expected, has an above-average percentage of its employment base in health and 
educational services. As indicated in Table 2.7, 14.8 percent of Alachua County's 1990 employed 
residents were employed in the health care industry, compared with 7.8 percent for the remainder 
of the region and 8.4 statewide. In terms of Education Services, 21.8 percent of Alachua County's 
employed residents were employed in Education Services, compared with 8.4 percent for the 
remainder of the region and 6.9 percent statewide. 

Alachua County is near the regional average in terms of percentage of total employment in Public 
Administration. As a major government employment center, Alachua County was anticipated to 
have an above-average percentage of employees in this category. Apparently, the large number of 
employment opportunities provided by state correctional facilities in the other counties of the region 
keeps the regional percentage of total employment within Public Administration above the statewide 
average. 

Manufacturing is a historically small component of the regional and state economies. As indicated 
in Table 2.7, 1990 regional employment in Durable and Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing 
accounted for 10.1 percent of regional employment and 10.5 percent of employment statewide. 
These figures are substantially lower than the 1990 national rate of 18.0 percent. 20 

CHANGE OVER TIME 

North central Florida's employment opportunities grew at a healthy rate between 1970 and 1990. 
However, the region's rate of new job creation did not keep up with statewide trends. While the 
number of employed residents in the region grew from 77,173 in 1970 to 151,175 in 1990, an 
increase of 95.9 percent, the number of employed residents statewide increased by 139.5 percent. 

As indicated in Table 2.10, Alachua County experienced the largest increase in the number of new employees 
between 1970 and 1990. A total of 46,146 new employed county residents, or 62.4 percent of all the new 
employed residents in the region, occurred in Alachua County. Gilchrist and Lafayette counties experienced 
the largest percentage increase in employment opportunities. The number of employees residing in Gilchrist 
County increased by 209.5 percent during this period while Lafayette County increased by 130.8 percent. 
Madison, Taylor, and Hamilton counties experienced the smallest percentage increases at 28.3, 39.6, and 47.3 
percent, respectively. 

Table 2.10 notes that Gilchrist County experienced an increase of 2,418 employed persons during 
this time period. A substantial proportion of Gilchrist County's increases occurred in Retail Trade 
(551 additional employed persons) and Educational Services (315 employed persons). Tables 2.7 
through 2.11 report change in number of residents employed by industrial sector by place of 
residence, not by place of employment. Many county residents reported in these tables are likely to 
hold jobs located in counties other than in which they reside. In the case of Gilchrist County, it is 



20 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1992 . Table 632 , Washington, D.C., 
1992. Non-durable goods manufacturing is thought to include mining employees employed by mining companies 
with ore beneficiation facilities located at their mine site. 

11-11 



suggested that a substantial portion of its increase was attributable to an increase in county residents 
commuting to jobs located in adjacent Alachua County (e.g., the University of Florida and regional 
shopping centers). 

Between 1 970 and 1 990, Retail Trade experienced the largest increase in employees residing within 
the region, adding an additional 14,324 employees. Health Services experienced the second-largest 
increase, adding 12,013 employees, followed by Educational Services employees at 10,131. The 
next largest increase in terms of absolute numbers occurred in Public Administration, which 
increased by 7,067 (see Table 2.9). Mining was the only industrial sector to experience a decline in 
employment, dropping from 689 in 1970 to 497 in 1990. 21 Business and Repair Services and 
Entertainment and Recreation Services experienced the largest percentage increases in employment 
at 266.5 and 244.2 percent, respectively. Other Services (Museums and Galleries, Religious and 
Political Organizations, Labor Unions and Professional Membership Organizations, Household Help, 
Accountants, Engineers, etc.) increased by 218.8 percent while Health Services increased by 207.7 
percent. Fire, Insurance, and Real Estate grew by 173.6 percent. Other than Mining, which 
experienced a 27.9 percent decline in total employment, Personal Services (Laundry and Cleaning 
Services, Beauty Shops, Shoe Repair Shops, Funeral Parlors, etc.) experienced the smallest rate of 
increase at 2.4 percent. Statewide, the largest percentage increases occurred in the same categories: 
Business and Repair Services (248.8%); Entertainment and Recreational Services (326.1%); Health 
Services (273.1%); and Fire, Insurance, and Real Estate (220.8%). 

Manufacturing has become less important to the regional economy. In 1970 manufacturing 
employment comprised 13.4 percent of all employed residents of the region. By 1990 the percentage 
of regional residents employed in manufacturing had declined to 10.1 percent. While manufacturing 
employment has grown, it has not kept pace with the rate of employment growth in other sectors and 
represents a continually smaller percentage of total regional employment. Regional Durable Goods 
Manufacturing employment rose by a below-average 3 1 .3 percent between 1 970 and 1 990, compared 
with 103.9 percent statewide. When Alachua County was removed from consideration, the growth 
rate in the Durable Goods sector for the remaining 10-county area was an even lower 12.2 percent. 

The region's 67.2 percent increase in regional Nondurable Goods Manufacturing employment was 
higher than experienced statewide (47.7%). However, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing represents 
a small 4.8 percent of 1990 regional employment. Statewide, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing 
employment represents 4.0 percent of statewide employment. Durable Goods Manufacturing 
represents a slightly larger percentage of total regional employment, at 5.3 percent. Statewide, 
Durable Goods Manufacturing represents 6.5 percent of total employment. 



2 'Non-durable goods manufacturing is thought to include mining employees employed by mining companies with 
ore beneficiation facilities located at their mine site. 

11-12 



Below-average regional increases in employment also occurred in Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, 
Household Services, and Other Personal Services. Employment opportunities within the region for 
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing grew by 16.2 percent compared with 50.8 percent statewide. 
When Alachua County is removed from consideration, the employment growth rate in this category 
for the remaining 10-county area was an even lower 3.9 percent. 

As can be seen by comparing tables 2.7 and 2.1 1, agricultural employment as a percentage of total 
regional employment dropped from 7.7 percent in 1970 to 4.6 percent in 1990. In 1970, employment 
in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries sector accounted for more than 10.0 percent of all 
employment in 7 of the 11 north central Florida counties (Bradford, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, 
Madison, Suwannee, and Union). By 1990, only Gilchrist, Lafayette, and Suwannee counties had 
more than 10.0 percent of their employment in this category. Despite the decline in relative 
importance, the actual number of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries employees increased from 
5,950 in 1970 to 6,914 in 1990. 



11-13 



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LABOR FORCE CHARACTERISTICS 

As north central Florida's population has increased, so has the size of its labor force. Table 2.12 
notes that the region's civilian labor force doubled in size, from 79,302 in 1970 to 161,062 in 
1990. 22 Besides an increase in size, the labor force participation rate also rose during this time 
period, climbing from 55.0 percent in 1970 to 58.1 percent by 1990. The region's 1990 
noninstitutionalized labor force participation rate is comparable to the statewide rate of 60.0 
percent. 

The counties which experienced the greatest increases in the size of their noninstitutionalized 
civilian labor force are the same counties which experienced the greatest population increases. 
Alachua County's labor force grew by 49,813 persons (121.3%) between 1970 and 1990. Alachua 
County also received the majority of the region's labor force increase (60.9%) during this period. 
Other north central Florida counties which experienced above-average percentage increases in their 
civilian labor force were Gilchrist (219.2%) and Lafayette (1 37.3%). Counties with noticeably 
below-average percentage increases in civilian labor force were the same counties which 
experienced below-average increases in population, including Madison (33.5%), Taylor (47.6%), 
and Hamilton (60.4%). 

North central Florida 1990 labor force participation rates vary noticeably from county to county. 
Counties with above-average labor force participation rates include Union (65.5%), Alachua 
(63.6%o), and Lafayette (61.8%). 23 Counties with below-average participation rates include 
Suwannee (55.5%), Gilchrist (57.2%), and Taylor (57.9%). Dixie County was the only north central 
Florida county to experience a decline in its labor force participation rate. In 1970, the Dixie 
County labor force participation rate was 5 1 .0 percent. The Dixie County rate dropped to 46.9 
percent in 1990, representing an 8.0 percent decline. 

Simply put, the number of new jobs has not kept pace with the increase in population. As indicated 
in Table 2.9, the number of employed residents in the region grew by 74,002, or 95.9 percent, 
between 1970 and 1990. However, as indicated in Table 2.12, the civilian labor force increased by 
81,760, or 103.1 percent, during this time period. When Alachua County is removed from 
consideration, the civilian labor force grew by 31,947 (83.5 percent); whereas, the number of 
employees grew by only 27,856 (74.2 percent). 



\ 



22 

Civilian labor force is defined as noninstitutionalized civilians age 16 and over who, during the week of April 
1st of the census year, either: (1) worked at any time during the reference week; (2) did not work during the 
reference week but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent (excluding layoff); (3) were on 
layoff; or (4) did not work during the reference week but who were looking for work during the last four weeks and 
were available for work during the reference week. 

23 

The noninstitutionalized civilian labor force participation rate refers to the percentage of the 
noninstitutionalized civilian population age 16 and over which is part of the noninstitutionalized civilian labor force. 

11-17 



TABLE 2.12 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA 
CIVILIAN LABOR FORCE AND LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATES 

1970 - 1990 





Civilian Labor Force 


Participation K 






Population 


Percentage Change 


ite* 










1970 


1980 


1970 








Area 


1970 


1980 


1990 


to 1980 


to 1990 


to 1990 


1970 


1980 


1990 


Alachua 


41,050 


70,583 


90,863 


71.9 


28.7 


121.3 


55.7 


59.7 


63.7 


Bradford 


4,985 


7,258 


8,669 


45.6 


19.4 


73.9 


56.5 


55.5 


60.1 


Columbia 


9,432 


15,078 


19,070 


59.9 


26.5 


102.2 


57.1 


59.4 


60.7 


Dixie 


1,821 


2,668 


3,639 


46.5 


36.4 


99.8 


51.0 


49.0 


46.9 


Gilchrist 


1,199 


2,195 


3,827 


83.1 


74.4 


219.2 


49.2 


53.3 


57.3 


Hamilton 


2,596 


3,389 


4,163 


30.5 


22.8 


60.4 


52.7 


56.7 


59.2 


Lafayette 


936 


1,517 


2,221 


62.1 


46.4 


137.3 


46.4 


52.5 


61.8 


Madison 


4,913 


5,804 


6,559 


18.1 


13.0 


33.5 


53.2 


54.4 


58.5 


Suwannee 


5,344 


8,814 


11,133 


64.9 


26.3 


108.3 


51.0 


54.9 


55.5 


Taylor 


5,023 


7,168 


7,413 


42.7 


3.4 


47.6 


55.3 


59.7 


57.9 


Union 


2,003 


2,657 


3,505 


32.7 


31.9 


75.0 


56.0 


59.6 


65.7 


Region 


79,302 


127,131 


161,062 


60.3 


26.7 


103.1 


55.0 


58.2 


58.1 


w/o Al Co 


38,252 


56,548 


70,199 


47.8 


24.1 


83.5 


54.1 


56.5 


53.2 


Florida 


2,521,245 


4,217,665 


6,167,236 


67.3 


37.4 


144.6 


52.0 


55.8 


60.0 



"Per 100 noninstitutionalized civilians, age 16 and over. Civilian labor force and participation rates based upon individuals age 16 and over. 
Excludes inmates of institutions and military personnel. 

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Summary Tape File 3A. Florida . 
Washington, DC. 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Population. General Social and Economic 
Characteristics. Florida . Tables 67 & 176. Washington, DC. 1982 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population. General Social and Economic 
Characteristics. Florida . Tables 53 & 121. Washington, DC. 1972. 



11-18 



OCCUPATION 

> 

Table 2.14 examines employment by occupation in 1990. The table suggests that the skill level 

of the region's work force, exclusive of Alachua County, is below-average in terms of technical 
training. When Alachua County is excluded from consideration, the region has a below-average 
percentage of persons employed in managerial and professional occupations (18.1 percent for the 
10-county area compared with 25.2 percent statewide). In addition, the 10-county area has only 
26.4 percent of its employed population in Technical, Sales, and Administrative Support 
occupations compared with 34.2 percent statewide. Conversely, the 1 0-county area has an above- 
average percentage of persons employed in Services (17.3 to 14.8, respectively) and Precision 
Operators, Fabricators, and Laborers (17.6 percent compared with 1 1.6 percent statewide). 

North central Florida counties with the lowest percentage of persons employed in managerial and 
professional occupations in 1990 were Lafayette (13.5%), Hamilton (14.8%), and Dixie (16.0%). 
Counties with the highest 1990 percentage of persons employed in the Precision Operators, 
Fabricators, and Laborers's category were Hamilton (23.0%), Taylor (22.4%), Madison (20.7%), 
and Dixie (20.3%). 

Between 1970 and 1990, the percentage of north central Florida residents employed in skilled 
occupations grew (see tables 2.13 and 2.14). In 1970, only 7.9 percent (7.2 percent excluding 
Alachua County) of the region's employed population were in professional and managerial 
occupations. By 1990, the percentage had grown to 28.3 percent (18.1 percent excluding Alachua 
County). Conversely, the percentage of north central Florida residents employed in lower-skilled 
y occupations such as Precision Operators, Fabricators, and Laborers declined from 1 7.5 percent (22.3 

percent excluding Alachua County) in 1970 to 11.6 percent (17.6 percent excluding Alachua 
County). 

Table 2.14 reveals the rural nature of north central Florida employment opportunities and suggests 
the region has a higher percentage of unskilled laborers than statewide. Alachua County, due to its 
heavy reliance upon state employees at the University of Florida, its regional hospitals, and other 
state employees has a higher-than-average percentage of persons in managerial and professional 
occupations. Approximately 36.1 percent of the county's workforce was employed in managerial 
and professional occupations in 1990. However, when Alachua County is removed from 
consideration, the region has a below- average percentage of persons (18.1 percent) employed in 
this occupational category. 

Employment skill level should not be confused with educational attainment. Despite the preponderance of 
low-skilled jobs in the region, the percentage of the region's 1990 adult population with either some college 
or four or more years of college was comparable to the statewide averages. As indicated in Table 2. 1 5, 23.0 
percent of the region's 1990 adult population had at least some college, compared with 26.0 percent 
statewide. The region's 1990 proportion of adults with four or more years of college (2 1 .2%) was higher than 
the statewide average (17.9%). When Alachua County is removed from consideration, however, the 
remaining 10-county area's percentage of adults with some college declines to 19.9 percent and the 
percentage with four or more years of college drops to 8.8 percent. 



11-19 



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Between 1970 and 1990 the region experienced a 14.7 percent increase in the percentage of adults 
with a high school degree, a 62.6 percent increase in the percentage of adults with some college, and 
a 33.3 percent increase in the percentage of adults with four or more years of college. The region's 
rate of increase in the percentage of adults with some college was comparable to the statewide 
increase of 65.6 percent. However, the region's 36.0 percent increase in the percentage of the adult 
population with four or more years of college lagged the statewide increase of 59.7 percent. 

TABLE 2.15 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT" 





1990 Percent of Population Age 25 and Over 


Percent Change in Population Age 25 and Over, 1970-1990 


Area 


Below 9th 


9th-12th 

No 
Diploma 


High 

School 

Graduate 


Some 
College 


4 Years or 

More 

College 


Below 9th 


9th-12th 

No 
Diploma 


High 

School 

Graduate 


Some 
College 


4 Years or 

More 

College 


Alachua 

Bradford 

Columbia 

Dixie 

Gilchrist 

Hamilton 

Lafayette 

Madison 

Suwannee 

Taylor 

Union 


6.0 
14.3 
11.9 
16.8 
15.8 
18.3 
20.0 
19.0 
15.6 
15.1 
11.6 


11.3 
20.7 
19.1 
25.5 
21.2 
23.3 
21.8 
24.5 
20.7 
22.8 
20.6 


21.7 
36.8 
33.5 
33.0 
33.6 
37.7 
37.4 
29.3 
37.6 
36.2 
36.0 


26.4 
20.1 
24.5 
18.6 
21.9 
13.6 
15.6 
17.5 
17.9 
16.0 
23.8 


34.6 
8.1 

11.0 
6.2 
7.4 
7.0 
5.2 
9.7 
8.2 
9.8 
7.9 


(305.6) 
(174.9) 
(209.7) 
(181.3) 
(213.4) 
(182.7) 
(163.7) 
(162.3) 
(192.8) 
(184.0) 
(246.1) 


(40.3) 

(16.3) 

(2.9) 

27.5 

11.0 

31.9 

33.0 

18.1 

(0.6) 

9.5 

(25.1) 


(13.1) 
30.1 
17.5 
24.5 
30.4 
39.9 
37.8 
38.1 
39.0 
30.9 
31.5 


53.7 
68.0 
69.1 
79.8 
75.1 
69.8 
69.9 
71.0 
71.6 
68.9 
74.9 


33.3 
44.8 
25.0 

8.3 
63.2 
21.4 

8.4 
28.3 
32.1 
35.2 
58.5 


Region 
w/o Al Co 
Florida 


10.6 

14.9 
9.5 


16.5 
21.4 
16.1 


28.6 

35.0 
30.1 


23.0 
19.9 
26.0 


21.2 

8.8 

17.9 


(228.4) 
(190.4) 
(251.9) 


(11.8) 

3.7 
(34.3) 


14.7 

30.6 

3.6 


62.6 

71.1 
65.6 


36.0 
32.1 
59.7 



"by highest level of educational attainment achieved. 

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Summary Tape File 3 A. Florida . 
Washington, D.C., 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population: General Social and Economic Characteristics. 
Florida . Tables 46 & 120. Washington, D.C., 1972. 



11-22 



* 



INCOME AND POVERTY 

North central Florida residents have historically experienced, and continue to experience, below- 
average incomes and above-average poverty rates when compared with statewide averages. 24 Table 
2.16 reveals that north central Florida 1989 per capita income was $1 1,083, 24.6 percent less than 
the statewide figure of $14,687. No north central Florida county reported a per capita income figure 
above the statewide average. When Alachua County's $12,252 per capita income, the only north 
central Florida county with a 1989 per capita income above the regional average, is removed from 
consideration, the per capita income for the remaining 10-county area drops to $9,853, which is 33.0 
percent below the statewide average. 

Regional per capita income increased at approximately the same rate as statewide between 1 969 and 
1989. Regional per capita income increased by 364.6 percent compared with 367.6 percent statewide 
during this period. North central Florida counties experiencing above-average increases in per capita 
income include Union (536.4%), Madison (443.1%), Gilchrist (413.8%), Bradford (411.3%), and 
Hamilton (404.0%). Six counties experienced a below-average rate of increase in per capita income. 
Columbia County had the smallest increase in per capita income at 343.3 percent. 

As indicated in Table 2.16, while north central Florida poverty rates have declined, the region's 
percentage of population living in poverty remains high. In 1969, fully 25.9 percent of the region's 
population for whom poverty status was determined lived below the poverty level. 25 By 1989, the 
percentage had dropped to 21.3 percent. The decline represents a 12.7 percent drop in the percentage 
of the region's population comprised of persons living below the poverty level. The regional decline 
was less than experienced statewide. The percentage of Florida's population comprised of persons 
living below the poverty line declined by 22.6 percent for this period, from 16.4 percent in 1969 to 
12.7 percent in 1989. Despite the percentage decline in total population living in poverty, the actual 
number of north central Florida residents living below the poverty level increased by 29.3 percent 
from 52,047 in 1969 to 75,278 by 1989. The percentage increase in the number of north central 
Florida residents living in poverty was lower than the 32.3 percent increase experienced statewide 
during this period. 

Alachua County was the only north central Florida county to experience an increase in the percentage 
of total population living below the poverty level. Alachua County's percentage increased from 22. 1 
in 1969 to 23.5 by 1989, an increase of 6.3 percent. Suwannee and Madison counties experienced 
the largest declines in terms of percentage of population living in poverty, declining by 42.1 and 34.1 



\ 



Poverty is as defined by the Bureau of the Census. The average poverty threshold for a family of four was 
$12,674 in 1989. Poverty thresholds were applied on a national basis and were not adjusted for regional, state, or 
local variations in the cost of living. For a fuller discussion of poverty thresholds, see U.S. Department of 
Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population. Social and Economic Characteristics. Florida . Section 
3 of 3, pages B-27 through B-29, Washington, D.C., 1992. 

25 

Excluding inmates of institutions, persons in military quarters and in college dormitories, and unrelated 
individuals under 15 years of age. 

11-23 



percent, respectively, for this period. 

Five north central Florida counties experienced an increase in the number of persons living in poverty 
between 1969 and 1989. North central Florida counties experiencing the largest increases, in terms 
of percentage of total county population between 1969 and 1989, were Alachua (47.1%), Dixie 
(44.2%), and Gilchrist (44.1%). Six counties experienced decreases in the number of persons living 
in poverty. North central Florida counties experiencing the largest decreases, in terms of percentage 
of total county population, were Hamilton (-8.8%) and Taylor (-6.7%) counties. 

Table 2.17 examines north central Florida median household income between 1 969 and 1 989. Unlike 
per capita income, the rate of increase in north central Florida median household income has not kept 
pace with statewide trends. In 1969, the region's median household income of $7,376 was higher 
than the statewide median income of $6,476. By 1989, the region's median household income was 
$21,489, 21.8 percent below the statewide median income of $27,483. During the 1970s, the rate of 
increase in the region's median household income was 67.7 percent compared with 73.7 percent 
during the 1980s. The regional rates of increase were less than the statewide increases of 126.6 
percent during the 1970s and 87.3 percent during the 1980s. 

While the region's rate of increase in median household income slowed during the 1980s, the actual 
dollar increase was larger during the 1980s than the 1970s. As derived from Table 2.17, the increase 
in regional median household income during the 1970s was $4,993, whereas the 1980s increase was 
$9,120. The region lagged statewide increases of $8,199 during the 1970s and $12,808 in the 1980s. 



( 



11-24 






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Hamilton 

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TABLE 2.17 
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME, 1969, 1979, AND 1989 





Med 


ian Household Income 


Percent Change 


Area 


1969 


1979 


1989 


1969-79 


1979-89 


1969-89 


Alachua 


8,329 


12,354 


22,084 


48.3 


78.8 


165.1 


Bradford 


6,905 


11,816 


24,625 


71.1 


108.4 


256.6 


Columbia 


7,354 


12,794 


21,961 


74.0 


71.7 


198.6 


Dixie 


5,666 


9,631 


15,380 


70.0 


59.7 


171.4 


Gilchrist 


6,213 


10,778 


20,632 


73.5 


91.4 


232.1 


Hamilton 


5,733 


10,565 


18,709 


84.3 


77.1 


226.3 


Lafayette 


5,638 


11,090 


20,744 


96.7 


87.1 


267.9 


Madison 


5,743 


10,169 


18,153 


77.1 


78.5 


216.1 


Suwannee 


5,903 


12,775 


19,775 


116.4 


54.8 


235.0 


Taylor 


6,814 


15,784 


21,380 


131.6 


35.5 


238.5 


Union 


6,317 


14,506 


22,831 


129.6 


57.4 


261.4 


Region* 


7,376 


12,369 


21,489 


67.7 


73.7 


191.3 


W/o Al Co" 


6,467 


12,385 


20,780 


91.5 


67.8 


221.3 


Florida 


6,476 


14,675 


27,483 


126.6 


87.3 


324.4 






a Regional totals represent the weighted statistical mean of county median values. 

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population and Housing. Florida. 
Summary Tape File 3 A. Washington, D.C. 1992. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Population. General Social 
and Economic Characteristics. Florida . Tables 71 & 180. Washington, D.C. 1982. 

University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1983 Florida Statistical Abstract Table 2.05. 
Gainesville, Fl, 1983. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population. Characteristics of the Population. 
Florida. Table 44. Washington, D.C. 1972. 



11-26 



( 



\ UNEMPLOYMENT 

Overall, north central Florida unemployment rates are comparable to statewide trends. However, 
when Alachua County is removed from consideration, the rate of unemployment for the remainder 
of the region is in excess of the statewide rate. Several north central Florida counties are 
experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Of the 15 Florida counties 
reporting unemployment rates in excess of 10.0 percent in 1993, five are found in north central 
Florida. 26 As indicated in Table 2.18, Hamilton County had the highest unemployment rate in the 
state in January, 1993, at 16.5 percent. Taylor County had the state's third highest unemployment 
rate at 13.6 percent. 

Hamilton County experienced a dramatic increase in unemployment due to layoffs at Occidental 
Chemical Corporation (OXY), the county's largest employer. OXY laid off hundreds of workers in 
1992 and 1993. The Hamilton County phosphate mining operation has decreased due to reduced 
demand for phosphate worldwide. Subsequently, OXY sold it Hamilton County mining operation 
in 1995 to White Springs Agricultural and Chemical Corporation (WSAG). Several smaller plants 
employing fifty people or less closed in Alachua, Bradford, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor counties 
during the economic downturn in 1992. The cumulative effect of the smaller plant closings was 
significant as they employed more than 1,400 persons. Many other small businesses have also 
suffered, partly due to a loss of business as a result of the closings and layoffs. 

^ As indicated in Table 2.18, the regional unemployment rate gradually increased between 1970 and 
1990. During this time regional unemployment increased from 3.1 percent in 1970 to 6.2 percent in 
1990, nearly twice the statewide rate of 3.6 percent. North central Florida counties that experienced 
above-average unemployment rates in 1990 include Hamilton (8.6%), Dixie (8.4%), and Columbia 
(7.9%). Counties experiencing below-average unemployment rates include Lafayette (4.5%), Union 
(4.9%), and Bradford (5.2%). No county in the region had a 1990 unemployment rate below the 
statewide rate of 3.6 percent. 

The region's increase in the rate of unemployment was similar to the statewide trend, rising 97.3 
percent between 1970 and 1990, compared with a statewide increase of 107.9 percent. When 
Alachua County is excluded, the rate of increase for the remaining 10-county area rose by 147.4 
percent for the same time period. 



Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security, Bureau of Labor Market Information, Local Area 
Unemployment Statistics Program, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
"State of Florida Local Area Unemployment Statistics by County (Not Seasonally Adjusted)." Tallahassee, FL. 
1993. 

11-27 



TABLE 2.18 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT RATES 1970, 80, 90, 92, & 93 

(IN PERCENT) 



< 









Unemployment Rate 






Area 


April 1970 


April 1980 


April 1990 


January 1992 


January 1993 


Percent 
Change 
1970-90 


Alachua 


3.4 


5.4 


5.6 


5.4 


4.7 


62.6 


Bradford 


4.5 


7.6 


5.2 


8.3 


7.1 


17.6 


Columbia 


3.2 


5.5 


7.9 


10.9 


10.7 


149.1 


Dixie 


3.1 


7.6 


8.4 


13.1 


11.0 


166.9 


Gilchrist 


3.8 


4.2 


6.7 


7.4 


7.4 


77.5 


Hamilton 


0.5 


6.7 


8.6 


12.5 


16.5 


1,750.0 


Lafayette 


1.8 


4.0 


0.5 


7.3 


6.4 


147.9 


Madison 


2.8 


7.4 


6.7 


8.2 


7.5 


132.7 


Suwannee 


2.1 


5.3 


6.3 


10.4 


10.6 


205.6 


Taylor 


2.3 


7.4 


7.6 


13.6 


13.6 


231.7 


Union 


2.6 


6.1 


4.9 


6.2 


4.8 


86.5 


Region 


3.1 


5.8 


6.2 


7.4 


7.0 


97.3 


W/o Al Co 


2.8 


6.3 


6.9 


10.2 


9.9 


147.4 


Florida 


3.8 


5.1 


3.6 


8.6 


7.9 


107.9 



Sources: Florida Department of Labor and Employment Statistics, unpublished data. Tallahassee, FL. 1993. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 Censuses of Population and Housing. 
Summary Tape File 3A . Florida. Washington, D.C. 1992. 



U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1980 Census of Population: 

General Social and Economic Characteristics. Florida . Tables 67 & 176. Washington, D.C. 1982. 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1970 Census of Population: 

General Social and Economic Characteristics. Florida . Tables 64 & 121. Washington, D.C. 1972. 



11-28 



fc By 1993, the region's unemployment rate increased to 7.0 percent, representing a 12.9 percent 
increase over 1 990 levels. The 1 0-county area excluding Alachua County experienced a notably 
higher unemployment rate and rate of increase for this period. The 1993 1 0-county area 
unemployment rate was 9.9 percent, representing a 43.5 percent increase over the 1990 rate. 
Statewide, unemployment rates rose dramatically during this period, rising from 3.6 percent in 1990 
to 7.9 percent in 1993. The 1993 statewide unemployment rate represents a 1 19.4 percent increase 
over the 1 990 rate. 

Table 2.19 presents 1970, 1980, and 1990 unemployment rates by race and sex. As is the case 
statewide, north central Florida had markedly higher 1990 unemployment rates for black males and 
females than their white counterparts. The discrepancy between black and white unemployment rates 
increased between 1970 and 1990. The 1970 regional unemployment rate for white males and 
females was 2.4 and 3.7 percent, respectively; whereas, the 1970 unemployment rate for black males 
and females was 2.4 and 5.9 percent. By 1980 the regional unemployment rate for black females 
soared to 10.2 percent, while the unemployment rate for black males was 5.3 percent. The 1980 
unemployment rate for black males was 23.3 percent higher than the white male unemployment rate 
of 4.3 percent. By 1990, a large discrepancy in unemployment rates existed between white and black 
males, with blacks experiencing rates of unemployment twice as great as experienced by whites. The 
1990 regional unemployment rate for white males and females was 5.1 and 5.3 percent, respectively, 
compared with 11.3 percent for black males and 12.5 percent for black females. North central 
Florida counties with higher than average 1 990 unemployment rates among black males include 
Dixie (21.0%), Columbia (15.7%), and Suwannee (14.0%). Counties with above-average 1990 
^ unemployment rates for black females include Gilchrist (35.2%), Taylor (19.7%), and Lafayette 

(18.4%). 



11-29 



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> 



LOCAL GOVERNMENT TAX BASE 

The taxable value of every north central county is considerably below the statewide average. In fact, 
the region's taxable value is so low that the combined taxable value of all 1 1 north central Florida 
counties is less than that of the average Florida county. Table 2.20 reveals that the region's 1992 
taxable value was $5,128,21 1,000, which is 81 .5 percent of the average 1992 Florida county taxable 
value of $6,288,998,209. The rate of increase in north central Florida taxable value lags statewide 
trends. No north central Florida county has experienced an increase in taxable value at a rate greater 
than the statewide average. Between 1972 and 1992, north central Florida's taxable value increased 
by 305.5 percent. At the same time, taxable value increased by 595.0 percent statewide. Alachua 
County experienced the region's highest percentage increase in taxable value at 386.9 percent; 
however, its rate of increase was only 65.0 percent of the increase experienced statewide during this 
period . 

TABLE 2.20 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA TAXABLE VALUE, 1972-92 
(ROUNDED TO THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS) 



* 





Taxable Value 


Percent Change 


Area 


1972 


1980 


1982 


1990 


1992 


1972-92 


1980-90 


Alachua 


615,206 


1,227,080 


1,605,481 


2,789,990 


2,995,336 


386.9 


127.4 


Bradford 


60,153 


113,888 


119,123 


214,351 


230,770 


283.6 


88.2 


Columbia 


121,715 


251,907 


255,994 


499,036 


537,682 


341.8 


98.1 


Dixie 


33,251 


71,815 


77,857 


140,155 


144,283 


333.9 


95.2 


Gilchrist 


41,241 


63,238 


70,118 


116,727 


129,375 


213.7 


84.6 


Hamilton 


53,001 


81,333 


101,402 


158,635 


164,255 


209.9 


95.0 


Lafayette 


27,553 


46,647 


49,108 


63,589 


67,641 


145.5 


36.3 


Madison 


71,876 


100,103 


109,048 


155,543 


165,133 


129.7 


55.4 


Suwannee 


111,453 


152,802 


174,222 


262,671 


306,270 


174.8 


71.9 


Taylor 


109,254 


159,878 


185,604 


312,593 


329,988 


202.0 


95.5 


Union 


19,973 


28,069 


31,437 


52,067 


57,478 


187.8 


85.5 


Region 


1,264,676 


2,296,760 


2,779,394 


4,765,357 


5,128,211 


305.5 


107.5 


W/O Al Co 


649,470 


1,069,680 


1,173,913 


1,975,367 


2,132,875 


228.4 


84.7 


Florida 


60,625,503 


139,262,653 


197,954,853 


396,038,215 


421,362,880 


595.0 


184.4 



Source: 1975-1994 Florida Statistical Abstract tables 2.90 & 23.91. 



> 



11-31 



The disparity in taxable values is even more pronounced when factoring in variations in county 
population or geographic size. Table 2.21 takes into account variations in county size by reporting 
county taxable value on a per square mile basis. The table shows that no north central Florida county 
has a per square mile taxable value greater than the statewide average. In fact, Alachua County, with 
the highest per square mile taxable value in the region, is less than half the statewide average. 
Excluding Alachua County, no north central Florida county has a per square mile taxable value 
greater than one-tenth the statewide average. 27 



TABLE 2.21 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA TAXABLE VALUE PER SQUARE MILE OF LAND AREA 

(ROUNDED TO THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS) 





Taxable Value 


Percent Change 


Area 


1972 


1980 


1982 


1990 


1992 


1972-92 


1980-90 


Alachua 


704 


1,404 


1,836 


3,191 


3,426 


386.9 


127.4 


Bradford 


205 


388 


406 


731 


787 


283.6 


88.2 


Columbia 


153 


316 


321 


626 


675 


341.8 


98.1 


Dixie 


47 


102 


111 


199 


205 


333.9 


95.2 


Gilchrist 


118 


181 


201 


335 


371 


213.7 


84.6 


Hamilton 


103 


158 


197 


308 


319 


209.9 


95.0 


Lafayette 


51 


86 


91 


117 


125 


145.5 


36.3 


Madison 


104 


145 


158 


225 


239 


129.7 


55.4 


Suwannee 


162 


222 


253 


382 


445 


174.8 


71.9 


Taylor 


105 


153 


178 


300 


317 


202.0 


95.5 


Union 


83 


117 


131 


217 


239 


187.8 


85.5 


Region 


188 


341 


413 


707 


761 


305.5 


107.5 


w/o Al Co 


111 


182 


200 


337 


364 


228.4 


84.7 


Florida 


1,124 


2,582 


3,670 


7,343 


7,812 


595.0 


184.4 



Source: 1982. 1991. & 1994 Florida Statistical Abstract. Table 2.2. 



27 Bradford County's 1992 taxable value per square mile was 10.08% of the statewide average taxable value per 
square mile. 



11-32 



k North central Florida's per capita taxable value also lags the state average. As indicated in Table 
2.22, the region's taxable value per capita has been less than one-half the statewide average since 
1980. While the rate of increase in north central Florida per capita taxable value is generally on par 
with statewide trends, the actual dollar value of the increase is much less thanstatewide. Between 
1982 and 1992, regional per capita taxable value increased by $5,068, which was less than half of 
the $12,308 statewide increase for the same period. 

TABLE 2.22 

TAXABLE VALUE PER CAPITA 
(IN DOLLARS) 



> 





Taxable Value Per Capita 


Percent Change 


Area 


1972 


1980 


1982 


1990 


1992 


1972-92 


1980-90 


Alachua 


5,331 


8,106 


10,117 


15,363 


16,087 


201.8 


89.5 


Bradford 


3,856 


5,688 


5,783 


9,527 


9,990 


159.1 


67.5 


Columbia 


4,426 


7,116 


6,938 


11,715 


11,896 


168.8 


64.6 


Dixie 


5,636 


9,265 


9,380 


13,222 


13,237 


134.9 


42.7 


Gilchrist 


10,059 


10,966 


10,312 


12,034 


12,684 


26.1 


9.7 


Hamilton 


6,625 


9,284 


11,394 


14,554 


14,283 


115.6 


56.8 


Lafayette 


8,888 


11,561 


11,978 


11,355 


12,079 


35.9 


(1.8) 


Madison 


5,026 


6,721 


7,270 


9,370 


9,714 


93.3 


39.4 


Suwannee 


6,674 


6,856 


7,414 


9,801 


11,097 


66.3 


43.0 


Taylor 


7,749 


9,671 


11,048 


18,280 


18,965 


144.8 


89.0 


Union 


2,528 


2,761 


2,782 


5,055 


5,042 


99.4 


83.1 


Region 


5,437 


7,733 


8,940 


13,450 


14,008 


157.6 


73.9 


w/o Al Co 


5,542 


7,346 


7,713 


11,438 


11,856 


113.9 


55.7 


Florida 


8,013 


14,298 


19,079 


30,611 


31,388 


291.7 


114.1 



Source: 1982. 1991. & 1994 Florida Statistical Abstract. Table 2.2. 



The principal reason for the region's low taxable value is the relatively low market value of rural 
lands when compared with urban land values of the more developed areas of the state. State property 
tax exemptions exacerbate the regional disparity. Table 2.23 reveals that the percentage of assessed 
value that is taxable is low for north central Florida counties. 



* 



11-33 



In 1992, only 44.7 percent of north central Florida assessed value was taxable, compared to 71.2 
percent statewide. Furthermore, the gap between taxable and assessed values for north central 
Florida counties is narrowing at a slower rate than statewide. Between 1980 and 1990, the gap 
between taxable and assessed values narrowed by 2.1 percent statewide, while the gap narrowed by 
only 0.1 percent in north central Florida. In fact, the gap actually increased for six north central 
Florida counties during this period. 

TABLE 2.23 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA TAXABLE VALUE 
PERCENT OF ASSESSED VALUE WHICH IS TAXABLE, 1972-92 





Percent 


Percent Change 


Area 


1972 


1980 


1982 


1990 


1992 


1972-92 


1980-90 


Alachua 


48.3 


52.8 


52.0 


51.6 


48.6 


0.5 


(2.3) 


Bradford 


42.8 


44.0 


30.3 


38.0 


39.2 


(8.3) 


(13.7) 


Columbia 


46.3 


46.2 


42.8 


44.7 


44.5 


(4.0) 


(3.3) 


Dixie 


68.6 


42.6 


39.9 


31.8 


31.2 


(54.6) 


(25.2) 


Gilchrist 


43.4 


32.1 


24.8 


34.1 


36.1 


(16.8) 


6.2 


Hamilton 


61.6 


37.8 


37.2 


45.2 


45.4 


(26.3) 


19.6 


Lafayette 


51.6 


49.5 


46.8 


28.1 


29.2 


(43.5) 


(43.3) 


Madison 


64.3 


31.6 


31.7 


36.9 


37.6 


(41.5) 


16.6 


Suwannee 


60.2 


34.7 


35.5 


42.1 


44.0 


(26.9) 


21.0 


Taylor 


74.8 


45.6 


33.9 


43.8 


44.1 


(41.1) 


(3.9) 


Union 


30.8 


24.7 


26.3 


25.7 


26.1 


(15.3) 


4.0 


Region 


51.3 


45.7 


43.2 


45.8 


44.7 


(12.9) 


0.1 


w/o Al Co 


54.4 


39.6 


35.1 


39.5 


40.1 


(26.2) 


(0.4) 


Florida 


67.9 


70.1 


68.6 


71.5 


71.2 


4.9 


2.1 



Source: 1975-1994 Florida Statistical Abstract, tables 2.90 & 23.91 



11-34 



> 



INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT 

The following section of the Economic Development Conditions and Trends Statement focuses on 
four historically-important north central Florida industries: agriculture, fishing and shellfish 
harvesting, silviculture, and mining. The section also spotlights two promising areas for future 
economic development: tourism and export manufacturing. 

AGRICULTURE 

North central Florida farms produce below-average incomes when compared to farms statewide. 
Table 2.24 reveals that the region failed to keep pace with statewide increases in farm income. 
Between 1982 and 1992, north central Florida per acre farm income increased by 48.6 percent, 
whereas per acre farm income statewide increased by 58.8 percent. Additionally, the region's 1992 
per-acre farm income of $97.30 was only 37.7 percent of the statewide average of $258.10. This is 
apparently due to high value citrus and vegetable crops grown in central and south Florida compared 
with north central Florida's lower- value agricultural products. As indicated in Table 2.25, total north 
central Florida farm income increased by 38.7 percent during this time period, compared to 103.9 
percent statewide. 

TABLE 2.24 
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA FARM INCOME PER ACRE, 1982 & 92 (IN DOLLARS) 





Year 




Area 


1982 


1992 


Percent Change 
1982-92 


Alachua 


65.3 


102.2 


36.2 


Bradford 


58.1 


98.0 


40.6 


Columbia 


50.1 


73.0 


31.3 


Dixie 


6.6 


26.7 


75.3 


Gilchrist 


43.5 


122.9 


64.6 


Hamilton 


63.1 


157.8 


60.0 


Lafayette 


149.2 


183.2 


18.6 


Madison 


44.4 


44.2 


(0.6) 


Suwannee 


64.3 


131.1 


50.9 


Taylor 


13.1 


13.5 


2.6 


Union 


82.0 


43.8 


(87.1) 


Region 


50.1 


97.3 


48.6 


w/o Al Co 


47.3 


96.2 


50.8 


Florida 


106.3 


258.1 


58.8 



Source: 1985 & 1994 Florida Statistical Abstract Table 5.30, and Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1992 Census of Agriculture. 
Washington D.C. September, 1994, Table 1. 



11-35 



TABLE 2.25 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA TOTAL FARM INCOME ON A PLACE-OF-WORK 

BASIS, 1980-92 
(THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS) 





Year 


Percent 


Change 


Area 


1980 


1982 


1990 


1992 


1980-90 


1982-92 


Alachua 


12,645 


14,312 


19,621 


19,535 


55.2 


36.5 


Bradford 


677 


2,367 


8,266 


3,549 


1,121.0 


49.9 


Columbia 


7,761 


5,845 


6,596 


7,080 


(15.0) 


21.1 


Dixie 


730 


1,687 


1,607 


837 


120.1 


(50.4) 


Gilchrist 


5,016 


4,186 


14,909 


8,723 


197.2 


108.4 


Hamilton 


2,845 


5,040 


3,905 


10,952 


37.3 


117.3 


Lafayette 


2,682 


10,354 


18,618 


17,558 


594.2 


69.6 


Madison 


6,604 


7,799 


4,427 


5,842 


(33.0) 


(25.1) 


Suwannee 


7,609 


12,907 


18,751 


21,228 


146.4 


64.5 


Taylor 


1,200 


1,333 


1,442 


1,044 


20.2 


(21.7) 


Union 


4,444 


5,181 


6,311 


2,116 


42.0 


(59.2) 


Region 


52,213 


71,011 


104,453 


98,464 


100.1 


38.7 


w/o Al Co 


39,568 


56,699 


84,832 


78,929 


114.4 


39.2 


Florida 


1,186,072 


1,362,692 


2,513,471 


2,778,500 


111.9 


103.9 



Source: 1983. 85. 92. & 94 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 5.30. 

While both the region and the state experienced an increase in farm income between 1 982 and 1 992, 
Table 2.26 reveals that both the region and the state experienced a decline in farmland acreage during 
this period. The region's farm acreage declined by 28.7 percent during this period. The drop was 
significantly greater than the statewide decline where land in farms shrunk by 16.0 percent. The 
difference between regional and statewide rates may, at least in part, account for the region's below- 
average increase in total farm income for this period. 



11-36 



* 



TABLE 2.26 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA LAND IN FARMS, 1982, 87, & 92 

(IN ACRES) 





Year 




Area 


1982 


1987 


1992 


Percent Change, 
1982-92 


Alachua 


219,337 


192,255 


191,140 


(12.9) 


Bradford 


40,709 


41,178 


36,230 


(110) 


Columbia 


116,586 


98,620 


96,968 


(16.8) 


Dixie 


255,854 


56,416 


31,693 


(87.6) 


Gilchrist 


96,163 


87,500 


70,987 


(26.2) 


Hamilton 


79,837 


73,603 


69,405 


(13.1) 


Lafayette 


69,387 


94,847 


95,833 


38.1 


Madison 


175,519 


132,173 


132,208 


(24.7, 


Suwannee 


200,607 


182,409 


161,936 


(19.3. 


Taylor 


101,396 


77,364 


77,364 


(23.7) 


Union 


63,173 


67,317 


48,280 


(23.6) 


Region 


1,418,568 


103,682 


1,012,044 


(28.7) 


w/o Al Co 


1,199,231 


911,427 


820,904 


(31.5) 


Florida 


12,814,216 


11,194,090 


10,766,077 


(16.0» 



Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1992 Census of Agriculture . Table 1, 
Washington, D.C., September, 1994. 



Dixie County experienced the largest percentage decline in farm acreage of any north central Florida 
County at 87.6 percent. Lafayette County experienced a 38.1 percent increase in acreage in farms. 
Lafayette County was the only north central Florida county to experience an increase in farm acreage 
during this period. The remaining north central Florida counties experienced declines similar to the 
regional average. 



11-37 



FORESTRY 

While north central Florida claims no more than 3.7 percent of Florida farm income, the region's 
silviculture industry represents a much larger share of statewide production. As indicated in Table 
2.27, north central Florida silviculture production represented 32.9 percent of 1989 Florida 
production. North central Florida counties with the largest wood product output in 1989 were 
Columbia, Taylor, and Bradford. 

TABLE 2.27 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA FOREST PRODUCT HARVEST, 1989 
(ROUNDED TO THOUSANDS OF CUBIC FEET) 



f 





All Products 


Pulpwood 


Saw/Timber Logs 


Other 


Area 


Total 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Alachua 


14,661 


14,039 


622 


9,072 


503 


4,778 


63 


189 


Bradford 


19,093 


18,738 


355 


11,685 


337 


6,809 


18 


244 


Columbia 


22,329 


21,901 


428 


13,114 


373 


8,383 


55 


404 


Dixie 


13,744 


11,433 


2,311 


6,674 


1,968 


4,595 


343 


164 


Gilchrist 


10,558 


10,412 


146 


6,176 





4,030 


90 


206 


Hamilton 


5,971 


5,560 


411 


4,570 


86 


856 


69 


134 


Lafayette 


8,974 


8,801 


173 


6,061 


45 


2,690 


128 


50 


Madison 


11,665 


9,054 


2,611 


5,860 


1,914 


3,036 


441 


131 


Suwannee 


10,279 


10,265 


14 


5,229 


14 


4,869 





167 


Taylor 


35,440 


34,777 


663 


26,987 


338 


7,517 


325 


273 


Union 


6,255 


6,099 


156 


3,383 


156 


2,617 





99 


Region 


158,969 


151,079 


7,890 


98,811 


5,734 


50,207 


1,532 


2,061 


w/o Al Co 


144,308 


137,040 


7,268 


89,739 


5,231 


45,429 


1,469 


1,872 


Florida 


482,698 


450,095 


32,603 


270,713 


25,600 


157,846 


5,416 


21,536 


Region as 
a % of Fl 
Total 


32.9 


33.6 


24.2 


36.5 


22.4 


31.8 


28.3 


9.6 



Source: 1991 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 10.07. 



11-38 



t 



North central Florida forest products, as well as forest products statewide, are primarily softwood 
products. A moderate climate, high annual rainfall, and flat terrain make the region well-suited to 
the production of pine trees on a 15- to 20-year cycle. As indicated in Table 2.28, 95.0 percent of 
north central Florida's 1989 wood production consisted of softwood products. This figure is 
comparable to the statewide average of 93.2 percent for the same time period. Only Madison 
County, where hardwood products comprised 22.4 percent of 1989 wood production, showed 
significant variation. 

TABLE 2.28 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA FOREST PRODUCTS 

HARVEST BY PRODUCT AND SPECIES GROUP, 1989 

(PERCENT OF TOTAL) 





All Products 


Pulpwood 


Saw/Tim 


ber Logs 


Other 


Area 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Alachua 


95.8 


4.2 


61.9 


3.4 


32.6 


0.4 


1.3 


Bradford 


98.1 


1.9 


61.2 


1.8 


35.7 


0.1 


1.3 


Columbia 


98.1 


1.9 


58.7 


1.7 


37.5 


0.2 


1.8 


Dixie 


83.2 


16.8 


48.6 


14.3 


33.4 


2.5 


1.2 


Gilchrist 


98.6 


1.4 


58.5 


0.0 


38.2 


0.9 


2.0 


Hamilton 


93.1 


6.9 


76.5 


1.4 


14.3 


1.2 


2.2 


Lafayette 


98.1 


1.9 


67.5 


0.5 


30.0 


1.4 


0.6 


Madison 


77.6 


22.4 


50.2 


16.4 


26.3 


3.8 


1.1 


Suwannee 


99.9 


0.1 


50.9 


0.1 


47.4 


0.0 


1.6 


Taylor 


98.1 


1.9 


76.1 


1.0 


21.2 


0.9 


0.8 


Union 


97.5 


2.5 


54.1 


2.5 


41.8 


0.0 


1.6 


Region 


95.0 


5.0 


62.2 


3.6 


31.6 


1.0 


1.3 


w/o Al Co 


95.0 


5.0 


62.2 


3.6 


31.5 


1.0 


1.3 


Florida 


93.2 


6.8 


56.1 


5.3 


32.7 


1.1 


4.5 



Source: 1991 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 10.07. 



» 



11-39 



TABLE 2.29 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA FOREST PRODUCTS 

HARVEST BY PRODUCT AND BY SPECIES GROUP 

PERCENT CHANGE OVER TIME, 1979-1989 





All Products 


Pulpwood 


Saw/Timber Logs 


Other 


Area 


Total 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Hardwood 


Softwood 


Alachua 


(4.4) 


0.0 


(51.6) 


26.2 


(51.3) 


(30.3) 


(75.2) 


- 


Bradford 


12.2 


11.7 


47.3 


65.6 


69.4 


(29.5) 


(57.1) 


287.3 


Columbia 


18.6 


18.3 


37.2 


30.6 


19.6 


17.1 


- 


(69.4) 


Dixie 


(9.8) 


1.1 


0.8 


22.6 


(57.2) 


(6.3) 


14.7 


- 


Gilchrist 


25.7 


30.1 


0.3 


5.3 


(100.0) 


8.9 


- 


- 


Hamilton 


(20.2) 


(21.0) 


7.4 


4.4 


(78.0) 


(65.8) 


27.8 


(17.3) 


Lafayette 


122.6 


136.9 


(45.4) 


108.2 


(85.8) 


234.6 


- 


- 


Madison 


18.6 


20.6 


12.1 


3.5 


(10.1) 


66.1 


121.6 


2,083.3 


Suwannee 


(6.1) 


(1.4) 


(97.4) 


(43.2) 


(97.2) 


321.9 


(100.0) 


209.3 


Taylor 


117.6 


141.0 


(64.4) 


165.3 


(75.4) 


78.7 


(33.5) 


425.0 


Union 


19.9 


20.5 


(1.9) 


27.3 


1,100.0 


30.2 


(100.0) 


(74.7) 


Region 


23.6 


30.4 


(38.3) 


40.0 


(49.1) 


16.1 


0.9 


0.7 


w/o Al Co 


27.4 


34.6 


(36.8) 


41.6 


(48.9) 


24.9 


16.1 


(8.6) 


Florida 


16.6 


21.1 


(22.6) 


18.8 


(10.9) 


15.5 


(59.5) 


200.7 


Region as 
a%ofFI 
Total 


6.0 


7.7 


(20.3) 


17.9 


(42.9) 


0.6 


149.1 


(66.5) 



Source: 1982 & 1991 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 10.07 

As indicated in Table 2.29, north central Florida experienced a 23.6 percent increase in wood 
production between 1979 and 1989. The region's increase is noticeably higher than the statewide 
increase of 16.7 percent. Lafayette and Taylor counties experienced the highest increases in wood 
production in the region at 122.6 and 1 17.6 percent, respectively. Softwood production increased 
while hardwood production declined during this period. Table 2.29 reports the region experienced 
a 30.4 percent increase in softwood and a 49.1 percent decline in hardwood. The region's rate of 
decline in hardwood production was noticeably greater than the statewide decline of 22.6 percent 
for this period. The significance of the data reported in Table 2.29 is unclear. To a large extent, 
wood production follows a cycle determined by prior harvests and replantings. Nevertheless, tables 
2.27 through 2.29 at the very least suggest that silviculture remains a viable industry. 



11-40 






• 






* 



FISHING AND SHELLFISH HARVESTING 

Fishing and shellfish harvesting are important industries for the region's coastal counties. Recent 
data suggests the importance of the fishing industry has increased over time. Table 2.30 reveals a 
65.3 percent increase in the poundage of north central Florida coastal fish and shellfish landings 
between 1971 and 1989 but a 30.4 percent decline between 1989 and 1992. Despite the recent 
decline, total fish and shellfish landings increased by 51.8 percent between 1971 and 1992. 

TABLE 2.30 

DIXIE AND TAYLOR COUNTY FISH AND SHELLFISH 
LANDINGS BY TYPE OF SPECIES, 1971-92 
(IN POUNDS) 





Landings 


Year 


Total 


Fish 


Shellfish 


1971 


2,912,000 


1,116,000 


1,796,000 


1974 


3,100,000 


1,156,000 


1,944,000 


1978 


3,835,815 


916,095 


2,919,720 


1981 


3,686,364 


1,075,733 


2,610,631 


1982 


2,534,168 


737,665 


1,796,503 


1984 


4,550,662 


1,205,077 


3,345,585 


1985 


4,815,019 


1,012,490 


3,802,529 


1988 


5,250,007 


2,998,457 


2,251,550 


1989 


6,351,779 


4,028,486 


2,323,293 


1990 


4,814,637 


3,394,327 


1,420,310 


1991 


2,216,443 


1,704,813 


511,630 


1992 


4,419,362 


3,398,498 


1,020,864 


Percent Change, 


51.8 


204.5 


(43.2) 


1971-92 









Sources: University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1972 Florida Statistical Abstract . 
Table 1 1.030, Gainesville, Fl, 1973 

1980-94 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 10.4. 



11-41 



Potential problems exist for the shellfish harvesting industry. After similarly peaking in 1985 at 
3,345,585 pounds, shellfish harvesting declined by 43.2 percent between 1971 and 1992. The 
Florida Department of Environmental Protection regularly closes the shellfish harvesting areas off 
the mouth of the Suwannee River after rain events due to high levels of fecal coliform. The effect 
of the shellfish bed closings is apparent in Table 2.30, which shows the region's shellfish harvest 
peaked in 1 984-85, and has been on the decline ever since. The high fecal coliform count suggested 
a need for secondary wastewater treatment within the unincorporated town of Suwannee, located at 
the mouth of the Suwannee River in Dixie County. 28 Federal funding was recently obtained for the 
construction of a wastewater treatment plant to serve the town. With the construction of the new 
wastewater treatment plant, shellfish harvesting may some day return to 1984-85 levels. 

Steinhatchee-based fishermen in the mid-1980s noticed a decline in sport and recreational fishing 
landings in the Steinhatchee River. They suspected that lower water quality in the Steinhatchee 
River was having an adverse impact on the commercial sport fishing industry. Area residents 
approached the Suwannee River Water Management District in 1987 about changes in the river that 
they believed were causing a decline in sport and recreational fishing. Much of the upper 
Steinhatchee River watershed consisted of large tracts of land owned by timber companies located 
in Mallory Swamp and Bee Haven Bay. Between the 1930s and the 1970s, canals were dug to drain 
these wetlands for pine production. 

In a natural state, the wetlands serve as a wide, shallow reservoir of both ground and surface waters. 
They provide the base flow for the Steinhatchee River through surface runoff and seepage from 
surficial aquifers. The past drainage efforts have altered the hydrologic balance by releasing too 
much storm water too quickly, resulting in disruptions to the Steinhatchee River estuary. Estuaries 
are uniquely adapted to, and dependent on, cyclical changes of freshwater inflow. Changes to that 
balance can have significant adverse impacts to the estuary. The District's study determined there 
was too much water draining too quickly into the river and estuary after storm events, but the 
hydrologic alterations upstream alone could not be the sole cause for the declining fishery. 

The area timber companies voluntarily agreed to change practices to modify their land holdings to 
retain more water after rains. Those changes include installing flashboard culverts, allowing canals 
to become overgrown with vegetation and reducing road elevations to allow water to overflow from 
roadside canals into adjacent wetlands. The results to date have been noticeable downstream with 
less freshwater flooding after rains. The District recently purchased 5,250 acres of Mallory Swamp 
in southwestern Lafayette County to help alleviate the condition. 



( 



28 See Need #2, page IV-47, and Policy 4.1.9. for associated need and policy statements. 

11-42 



The passage of the 1 994 constitutional amendment eliminating net fishing within Florida coastal 
waters will significantly reduce fish landings in the region. A recent study conducted by the Florida 
Department of Labor and Employment Security indicates that 36.3 percent of north central Florida 
fish landings consist offish species normally caught with the newly-prohibited nets. 29 

TABLE 2.31 



NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA AREA FISH LANDINGS 
ESTIMATED POUNDS AND VALUE AFFECTED ANNUALLY BY FLORIDA NET BAN 





Fish Landings (Millions of Pounds) 


Value (Millions of Dollars) 


Area 


Total 


Affected 


Percent 
Affected 


Total 


Affected 


Percent 
Affected 


Dixie 

Taylor 

Tri-County 


3.466 
1.194 
4.660 


2.109 
0.791 
2.900 


60.8 
66.2 

127 


2.377 
0.856 

3.233 


0.757 
0.417 
1.174 


31.8 
48.7 
36.3 



Source: Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security. Economic Assistance and Retraining Needs Resulting 
From the November 8. 1994. Passage of Constitutional Amendment 3 (Net Fishing Ban): Volume 1. The 
Report . Table 1, Tallahassee, Fl., February, 1995. 

MINING 

Mining activities occurring in the region include phosphate, lime rock, sand, gravel, clay, and peat. 
Open pit limestone quarries can be found in Alachua, Dixie, Lafayette, and Suwannee counties. 
Mining is particularly important to the economies of Bradford and Hamilton counties. The 
Phosphate Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) in Hamilton County and Dupont DeNemours in 
Bradford County are the largest mining operations in the region. A recent expansion by Dupont has 
extended the life of its heavy sand mine by approximately 25 years. Plans call for the Dupont mine 
to annually produce approximately 150,000 tons of titanium minerals, 75,000 tons of staurolite, and 
40,000 tons of zircon. 

By far the most extensive and economically important mining activity in the region is land pebble 
phosphate mining conducted by PCS. Their current mining area comprises approximately 100,000 
acres. Approximately 24.0 percent of all jobs as well as 36.0 percent of total salary and wage income 



29, 



Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security, Economic Assistance and Retraining Needs Resulting 
From the November 8. 1994 Passage of Constitutional Amendment 3 (Net Fishing Ban). Volume I. The Report . 
Tallahassee, Table 1, February 1995. 



11-43 



in Hamilton, Suwannee, and Columbia counties are attributable directly or indirectly to PCS mining 
operations in Hamilton County. 30 PCS is the largest private employer in the region. The mining and 
chemical processing operation employs approximately 2,150 workers at full employment. 

Hundreds of workers were laid off from Hamilton County phosphate mines during 1992. While 
some of these workers have been recalled, most of the layoffs appear to be permanent. PCS's current 
mines are scheduled to close in 201 1, at which time PCS will either open a new mine or cease its 
north central Florida mining operations. 

TOURISM 

While the region is providing increased services to automobile-bound tourists traveling through the 
region, the actual number of these tourists stopping to visit north central Florida tourist attractions 
may be slowly declining. Table 2.32 reveals the number of north central Florida hotel units 
increased by 58.2 percent while the number of motel units increased by 35.2 between 1980 and 1993. 
The region's restaurant seating capacity increased by 46.7 percent during the same period. The 
region's rate of increase for hotel and motel rooms was somewhat higher than the rate of increase 
for the state as a whole. Statewide, the number of hotel rooms increased by 54.0 percent, while the 
number of motel rooms grew by 12.5 percent between 1980 and 1993. Florida's restaurant seating 
capacity increased by 88.1 percent during this period, almost twice the region's growth rate. 

Table 2.33 reveals the region has experienced a slight decline in the number of individuals visiting 
state parks and preserves located in the region. Between fiscal years 1985-86 and 1993-94, visitation 
at state parks declined by 5.9 percent. 

According to the Florida Department of Commerce, Bureau of Tourism, one job is created for every 
52 visitors entering the state. In 1991, more than 650,000 individuals in Florida were employed in 
a tourism-related job. Although tourism is Florida's number one employer, north central Florida has 
not captured its share of that market. The number of individuals employed in tourism in the region 
is not known with certainty; however, it is estimated the number is small. 

A recent study by the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council concluded that the region 
has great potential for attracting a larger number of tourists. 31 A regional effort has been started to 
make the area more attractive to visitors and create a greater demand for tourism-related goods and 
services. Each additional percentage increase in Florida's tourism business captured by north central 
Florida is estimated to create approximately 550 new jobs in the region. 



( 



30 PCS estimates that due to an employment "multiplier" each job at the mine adds 3.66 additional full-time 
equivalent indirect and induced jobs in Florida; 1.99 of these additional jobs are located within Columbia, Hamilton 
and Suwannee Counties. 

3 'North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Tourism Development Strategic Plan. 1992-1995 . 
Gainesville, FL, November, 1992. 

11-44 



► 



TABLE 2.32 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA TOURIST FACILITIES 
HOTELS, MOTELS, & FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS, 1980-93 





Number of Rooms 


Number of Seats 


Year 


Licensed Hotels 


Licensed Motels 


Food Service Establishments 


1980 


261 


5,104 


34,779 


1981 


250 


5,085 


35,164 


1982 


237 


5,128 


35,608 


1983 


237 


5,212 


35,296 


1984 


237 


5,569 


36,069 


1985 


424 


5,130 


36,834 


1986 


411 


5,658 


51,543 


1987 


413 


6,094 


52,462 


1988 


413 


6,308 


52,366 


1989 


413 


6,171 


52,569 


1990 


439 


6,549 


51,214 


1991 


439 


6,739 


53,380 


1992 


439 


6,834 


50,364 


1993 


413 


6,902 


51,028 


Region III Percent 








Change, 








1980-90 


68.2 


28.3 


47.3 


1980-93 


58.2 


35.2 


46.7 


Florida Percent 








Change, 








1980-90 


50.3 


14.2 


83.5 


1980-93 


54.0 


12.5 


88.1 



Source: 1981-94 Florida Statistical Abstract Table 19.60. 



11-45 



TABLE 2.33 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA STATE PARKS AND AREAS ATTENDANCE 
FISCAL YEARS 1985-86 THROUGH 1993-94 



( 





Fiscal Year 


Percent 


State Facility 


1985-86 


1986-87 


1987-88 


1988-89 


1989-90 


1990-91 


1991-92 


1992-93 


1993-94 


Change 
1986-94 


Devil's Millhopper 


74,050 


86,590 


77,176 


73,398 


65,594 


66,873 


58.953 


45,669 


47.456 


(35.9) 


Forest Capital 


24.780 


29,310 


28,720 


24.565 


29,080 


30,062 


27,913 


28,385 


28,532 


15 1 


Ichetucknee Springs 


182.512 


190.625 


202,362 


180,976 


139,057 


130,384 


134,402 


159.453 


167,135 


(84) 


Rawlings Homesite 


30.194 


27,112 


30,225 


31,114 


30,769 


27,168 


21,705 


22.509 


20,753 


(313) 


O'leno State Park 


61.009 


58,923 


62,874 


61,846 


58,671 


54,581 


46.548 


45.990 


56,608 


(7.2) 


Paynes Prairie 


70.658 


64.870 


74,806 


95,851 


89,772 


83,379 


83.323 


101,962 


91.399 


29.4 


San Felasco 
Hammock 


8.264 


11,224 


14,161 


14,518 


21.536 


23,677 


20,175 


20.651 


1 1.829 


43 1 


Stephen Foster 


59.063 


57,946 


59,333 


67,526 


64,933 


51,765 


51,382 


56,606 


62,912 


65 


Suwannee River 


53.456 


53,995 


39,149 


55,150 


39,067 


32,003 


31,501 


39,751 


44,002 


(177) 


Region 


563,986 


580,595 


588,806 


604,944 


538,479 


499.892 


475,902 


520,976 


530.626 


(5 9) 



Source: 1987. 1989. 1991.& 1 994 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 19.52. 



STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE REGION'S ECONOMIC STRUCTURE 

This portion of the conditions and trends statement explores the strengths and weaknesses of the 
region for economic development, describes existing regional economic development programs, and 
suggests avenues for future economic development efforts. 

The Council's 1993 Overall Economic Development Program Update analyzed the strengths and 
weaknesses of the region for purposes of economic development. 32 The update identified 12 
strengths and nine weaknesses which are summarized as follows. 



32 North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Overall Economic Development Program 1993 Update. 
Volume II . Gainesville, FL, 1993, pp 45-50. 

11-46 



• 



* 



STRENGTHS 

The region has a number of assets that can be used to the area's advantage in economic development: 

1 . Great location. 

North central Florida is intersected by Interstate Highways 1 and 75 which provide access 
to many auto travelers and freight haulers from Florida and other states. These major 
highways connect the area to the rest of the country. Interstate Highway 75 travels through 
the Midwest to the Canadian border. Interstate Highway 1 connects the region to southern 
California. The region's north Florida location reduces the time required to reach out-of- 
state markets when compared to central and south Florida. 

2. Proximity to other states and counties. 

Madison and Hamilton counties border the State of Georgia. A number of individuals in the 
northern portion of the region often seek employment in Georgia and contribute to that state's 
available labor force. Similarly, proximity to the state's border allows the region to take 
advantage of Georgia markets, suppliers, manufacturers, and labor. Unlike Georgia, Florida 
does not have a state income tax—a favorable factor for new businesses. 

3. A good ground transportation network. 

The region is easily reached through a well-developed road and rail network. Besides 1-75 
and 1-10, other major roads include U.S. 19, U.S. 301, U.S. 90, U.S. 27, U.S. 41, and U.S. 
441 . Freight rail service is available from CSX throughout the region. There are many north 
central Florida industrial locations with road and rail access available to new and expanding 
businesses. The ground transportation network is an asset which can be used to enhance the 
region's image as a viable industrial location. 

4. Excess labor capacity to meet growing demand. 

With five of the region's 1 1 counties reporting unemployment rates greater than the 
statewide average, north central Florida has a relatively large pool of available labor. While 
the labor force is largely unskilled, particularly in the rural parts of the region, businesses can 
use worker training programs available through the Job Training Partnership Act and local 
community and vocational colleges to develop the skilled labor. 



» 



11-47 



5. A constant, moderate, clean-air climate. 

The region has mild winters and warm, humid summers. Every north central Florida county 
is classified as an air attainment county by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 
area's rainy season is typically from June to August. The fall, winter, and spring provide 
excellent weather for outdoor recreation. Unlike other parts of Florida, the region enjoys a 
change of seasons. The comfortable climate is an asset that attracts newcomers to the area. 

6. The University of Florida. 

The University of Florida (UF) provides a wealth of research and development opportunities 
for local businesses. The University aided the development of Progress Center, a research 
and technology park created to link university research with industry. Progress Center helps 
entrepreneurs transfer new technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace. In addition, 
UF's many colleges and specialties allow local businesses to tap the assistance of University 
experts and access data to stay abreast of recent discoveries. 

7. A large concentration of medical centers and hospitals. 

North central Florida, Alachua County in particular, is home to several large hospitals and 
medical centers. Steady advances in health care and a rapidly aging population are creating 
greater demand for skilled health service workers. Over the next five years, hundreds of 
millions of dollars will be spent on expansion projects at Shands Hospital, the University of 
Florida College of Medicine, Alachua General Hospital, the North Florida Regional Medical 
Center, and other smaller hospitals throughout the region. The expansion programs will 
generate new job opportunities in health-related professions and health support services. 

8. Low housing costs combined with a high quality of life. 

The cost of living is much lower in north central Florida than in many other parts of the state. 
The region has a relaxed atmosphere. A commitment exists to maintaining the region's 
natural resources. The region is largely forested. Residents tend to value and respect nature. 
There are few locations, with the exception of certain parts of Gainesville, that have high 
traffic levels and congestion. Many cultural and artistic centers and programs are located in 
Gainesville. The area appeals to fitness-oriented people. The hurried and congested aspects 
of urban living are missing, making the region a great place to get an education, work, raise 
a family, and retire. These attractive aspects can be used to attract new businesses to the 
area, particularly to Alachua County where these attributes are concentrated. 



< 



H-48 



9. Low cost of land. 

Another factor enhancing the development potential of the region is the low cost of land. 
Low land costs, coupled with the availability of transportation and low labor costs, enhances 
the competitive position of the region and raises its standing in the relocation and expansion 
decisions of industrial firms. 

10. A large concentration of unspoiled, natural attractions. 

The region has many outdoor recreational resources for young and old. North central Florida 
is home to the famous Suwannee River. It and several other rivers are excellent for fishing, 
canoeing, and boating activities. The rivers have a large concentration of cave-diving spots 
and crystal-clear springs for swimming and freshwater recreation. The region also has many 
parks and recreational areas for bicycling, hiking, and camping. The north central Florida 
coast offers untapped resources for off-shore fishing and boating activities. These attractions 
can be better used to diversify the economy through tourism development. 

1 1 . Ample water supply. 

North central Florida is underlain by the Floridan Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater 
aquifers in the world. The aquifer provides local residents and industry with a low cost 
supply of high quality water. Most of the existing industrial parks and urban areas have 
centralized municipal water systems. Of the 33 incorporated municipalities in the region, 25 
have a municipal water supply system, while 1 7 also provide municipal sewer service. 

12. Workforce development initiatives. 

A consortium including Santa Fe Community College, the Alachua County School Board, 
the Bradford County School Board, and the Suwannee Valley Private Industry Council has 
been formed as a public/private partnership to bridge the gap in the school-to- work 
transition. This linkage among education, business, and civic government entities assists in 
increasing the percentage of high school graduates gaining employment in highly skilled, 
high-wage occupations. 

WEAKNESSES 

The region's ability to grow is hampered by various chronic conditions which are difficult to 
overcome. They impose limitations on regional development and aggravate the area's inability to 
capture a greater share of industrial and commercial activities. Below are the major weaknesses 
affecting the area's economic growth. 



11-49 



Lack of infrastructure, services, and utilities. 

Despite improvements to local government infrastructure, many north central Florida 
communities, with the notable exception of the City of Gainesville, still lack the 
infrastructure necessary for economic development. Owing to the rural nature of the region 
and its correspondingly small population, many north central Florida communities are 
lacking some of the facilities and infrastructure normally associated with and necessary for 
industrial activities. While the region has sixteen industrial parks, only nine have central 
water and sewer and six of these are located in Alachua County. 

Directly associated with the lack of an infrastructure is the lack of local financial resources 
with which to finance the cost of infrastructure improvements. As indicated by the region's 
low taxable value, many north central Florida local governments do not have the financial 
capacity to purchase sites suitable for industrial development or to extend the necessary 
utilities to those sites. Nor can most finance improvements such as central water and sewer 
systems, recreation facilities, or cultural centers. The provision of adequate water supply and 
sewage treatment is essential to advance economic development, while recreational and 
community facilities make a community more attractive to private investors. 

Generally, emergency response services are less than optimal to handle large-scale industrial 
fires and hazardous waste spills. Cellular telephone coverage is spotty in the region's more 
rural areas. Additionally, much of the region lacks local calling access to privately-owned, 
packet-switching telephone networks such as Telnet which are used in computer-to-computer 
communications. 

High cost of energy. 

The region's sensitivity to the availability and the cost of energy will continue to be a 
potential constraint to economic development. An increase in the cost of energy can have 
a significant impact since nearly all of the region's energy requirements are met with 
imported oil and gas. High energy costs will cause energy intensive industrial firms to avoid 
north central Florida. 

Lack of a skilled labor force. 

Although the region has many individuals available for employment, the labor force in the 
rural areas of the region is predominantly unskilled. The unskilled labor force restricts the 
development of industries that require a readily available pool of skilled workers. 

Lack of available housing. 

New industry moving into the region and bringing in employees would have a difficult time 
locating housing in the region's smaller communities. 



11-50 



' 



Limited air transportation services. 

The Gainesville Regional Airport provides passenger and commercial air service to the 
region. Unfortunately, only two major air carriers service the area: U.S. Air and Delta. A 
relatively low demand results in a limited number of daily flights to only a few Florida cities 
and two out-of-state hub airports. As the region grows in population, demand for expanded 
service will rise, reducing the cost of air travel from Gainesville and increasing the number 
of daily flights. Although there are no international airports in north central Florida, the 
region has reasonable access to such facilities in nearby Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. 

Lack of cultural, recreational, and educational facilities outside of Gainesville. 

The rural parts of the region do not have cultural, recreational, and educational facilities 
similar to those enjoyed by Gainesville residents. Amenities are important to business 
owners and company executives looking to locate companies. The lack of facilities reduces 
the region's chances of attracting new industries and major employers. 

Lack of experience with industrialization. 

Since the region has historically been a rural, agricultural economy, north central Florida 
local governments have limited experience with urbanization and economic development. 
The exception is Gainesville, the largest municipality in the region, which has begun to deal 
with traffic and urban sprawl due to growth. Should the area begin to grow at a more rapid 
pace, local communities are not adequately equipped to handle the pressures and costs that 
come with increased growth. 

Lack of staff support at local government level. 

Due to low property values, north central Florida local governments continue to require 
technical assistance in pursuing economic development. Local government planning and 
economic development departments continue to be small, and in some cases, nonexistent. 
Most north central Florida local governments use the technical services available through the 
North Central Florida Regional Planning Council to apply for economic development 
assistance. 

Scarce small business financing resources. 

Small- and medium-sized businesses employing less than 100 people create 80 percent of all 
new jobs in the nation. However, small- and medium-sized businesses are often unable to 
find affordable long-term financing. Given the lack of available capital from private 
markets, the economic development potential of small- and medium-sized businesses in the 
region is adversely affected. 



11-51 



With any reduction in financial assistance from federal agencies such as the Small Business 
Administration, the Rural Economic and Community Development Service (RECD), and the 
Economic Development Administration, many small businesses will be unable to obtain 
financing through private financial institutions. 33 Thus, economic opportunities that would 
have been created will be lost. 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS 

The region's economic development efforts have sought to capitalize on existing resources while 
improving areas of weakness. The Council and the region's local governments have been involved 
in infrastructure and community development, vocational training, business financing, and tourism 
development. 

INFRASTRUCTURE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 

Although the north central Florida region was designated as an Economic Development District in 
1978, the rural nature of the region continues to present many constraints to industrial development. 

Some smaller north central Florida communities lack adequate public utilities and the basic 
framework for economic development. As of January, 1996, 26 of 33 north central Florida 
municipalities had at least a portion of their jurisdictions served by central water supply systems. 
Only 19 communities had centralized wastewater treatment systems. Many of these systems are old 
and too small to accommodate much additional growth. A number of the region's smaller 
communities need new or additional centralized water and wastewater treatment capacity in order 
to accommodate significant new urban development. 

As a result of the technical assistance provided by the Council to local governments, chambers of 
commerce, and development authorities since then, the region's communities have attempted to 
develop the infrastructure necessary for economic development. In some cases, industries have 
moved into the region or expanded their current facilities with the resultant creation of new jobs and 
increased personal income. Feasibility studies have been undertaken for the development of 
industrial parks in several north central Florida counties, most of which have installed water and 
sewer facilities to serve prospective tenants. 

Through its local government technical assistance program, the Council has assisted many north central Florida 
local governments prepare grant and loan applications to expand or create local wastewater treatment plants, 
sewage collection systems, and centralized water supply systems. Local governments have pursued funding 
from the Economic Development Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Rural Economic 
and Community Development Service, the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as other 
sources. North central Florida local governments have also sought to develop recreation areas to improve the 
overall quality of life within their jurisdictions. 



33 Formerly known as the Farmers Home Administration. 

11-52 



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Over 75.0 percent of north central Florida local governments sought assistance to revitalize their 
neighborhoods and housing stock through the federal Community Development Block Grant 
Program (CDBG). Since 1974, most of the region's communities have received grants for 
neighborhood and housing improvements. Using CDBG funds, local governments have repaired and 
enhanced deteriorated housing stock; paved streets, and improved storm sewer systems, sewage 
collection systems and water delivery systems. 

Several communities have implemented downtown revitalization programs. Alachua, Jasper, and 
Starke revitalized their downtowns using CDBG funds. High Springs, Lake City, Live Oak, and 
Madison have initiated downtown revitalization using local funds. Gainesville also has a downtown 
redevelopment program. Through this program, downtown Gainesville has diversified and increased 
its share of office, residential, retail, and entertainment uses, creating a vibrant downtown business 
and cultural center. 

INDUSTRIAL RECRUITMENT EFFORTS 

The Council has been involved in economic development efforts since 1978. For the most part, 
these efforts have not yielded the fruits hoped for by local governments. The most concerted multi- 
jurisdictional industrial recruitment effort began in 1987. The program was carried out by 
individuals from chambers of commerce, development authorities, the JTPA Private Industry 
Council, and local governments who represented the eleven counties. 

A broad and expensive national advertising campaign was undertaken. Mailings were sent to 
companies that responded to the ads. Brochures, video tapes, and mementos were distributed to 
respondents. Local business leaders collaborated with county economic development officials to 
help attract new businesses. 

The program continued for several years but results of the program were disappointing. Although 
a few new companies became established in the region during this time frame, the number of firms 
that located in the area as a consequence of this program is not known with any degree of certainty. 
This apparent lack of success and, ultimately, lack of funding caused the effort to disband in 1990. 

Most recently, in 1991, Alachua County created an organization called the Council for Economic 
Outreach (CEO) to recruit new industries to the county. This organization is funded through a 
public-private partnership between major employers and local governments. The goal of the CEO 
is to recruit new businesses to the county that can take advantage of three major county strengths: 
The University of Florida, an abundance of medical centers, and the transportation network. The 
major industries targeted by the CEO are medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers, 
engineering firms, and agricultural organizations. Thus far, the effort has had limited success; 
however, as with any new program, a certain amount of time is required before the investment can 
be expected to reap dividends. 



11-53 



In addition to Alachua County's efforts, chambers of commerce and industrial development 
authorities in other north central Florida counties continue to carry out industry recruitment efforts. 
However, most have very limited resources for industrial recruitment. These local governments 
depend upon regional efforts supported by the Council to assist them in promoting economic 
development. 

VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMS 

In October, 1982, Congress passed and the President signed the Job Training Partnership Act 
(JTPA). The JTPA provides federal funds passed through the state to local Service Delivery Areas 
(SDAs) to be used for running job training programs. One of the main features of the JTPA is the 
requirement for a partnership between public and private sectors to achieve the goals of the program. 

The service delivery area for north central Florida coincides with the 1 1 -county region of the North 
Central Florida Regional Planning Council. The County Commissions of these eleven counties have 
organized Florida's Suwannee Valley Job Training Consortium and Florida's Suwannee Valley 
Private Industry Council (PIC). The Consortium is responsible for appointing individuals to the PIC 
and reviewing job training plans and programs. 

The majority of PIC members are from the private sector. It is the responsibility the PIC to provide 
guidance for, and exercise oversight with respect to, activities conducted under the JTPA program. 
The PIC has entered into an agreement with the Consortium designating the North Central Florida 
Regional Planning Council as the grant recipient and administrative entity for the JTPA program. 
The agreement further establishes the procedures for the development of a job training plan. 

The Council, acting as the administrative entity for the JTPA program, operates a Title II-A Adult 
Program, a Title II-B Summer Youth Employment and Training Program, a Title II-C Youth 
Program, a Title III Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance Act Program, and 
determines eligibility for Title I, Section 123 Vocational Education programs at six area vocational- 
technical Schools. 

Title II-A provides the following employment and training services for disadvantaged youth and 
adults. 

1 ) Classroom training: This type of service provides vocational training in a classroom setting 
for periods of up to four years. Placement services are provided as well. 

2) Youth Enhancements: This program provides basic skills remediation in mathematics and 
reading/language arts to eligible youth participants 1 6 to 2 1 years old. Pre-employment and 
work-maturity skills training or job specific training and placement services may also be 
provided. 



11-54 



3) Supported Employment: This program provides competitive work in integrated settings: For 
individuals with severe disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally 
occurred; and for individuals for whom competitive employment has been interrupted or 
intermittent as a result of a severe disability, and who because of their disability, require 
ongoing support services to perform such work. 

Title II-B Summer Youth Employment and Training Program provides work training and primary 
work experience for disadvantaged youth. The program uses public and private non-profit 
employers. Basic education in mathematics and reading/language arts is provided for participants 
who are two years or more behind their current grade level. 

The Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance Act Program provides direct 
placement assistance and retraining through classroom training to laid-off and long-term 
unemployed workers. 

BUSINESS FINANCING 

In the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, lending institutions tightened their 
lending practices, making it more difficult for borrowers to fund business projects. However, many 
area lenders have begun taking advantage of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan 
programs. The North Central Florida Regional Planning Council and the North Central Florida 
Areawide Development Company (ADCO) are educating commercial loan officers in the region on 
the benefits and eligibility requirements of the SBA programs. It is the goal of the Council to 
achieve greater participation from area lenders to fund business projects which bring new jobs and 
tax revenues to the local economies. 

POSSIBILITIES FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 

In addition to the Council's technical assistance programs which help local governments prepare 
grant applications, four avenues exist through which the Council can promote economic 
development of the region. These include tourism development; diversification of the region's 
existing agriculture, silviculture, and fishing industries; assisting the expansion of existing north 
central Florida businesses; and assisting the formation of new businesses. 

DIVERSIFICATION OF FOREST, AQUACULTURE, AND AGRICULTURE 

INDUSTRIES 

Possibilities exist for diversification in the forestry, aquaculture, and agriculture industries. Other 
regions have developed alternative uses for forest lands which may be successfully exported to north 
central Florida. For example, a timber-dependent community in a rural area of California obtained 
a grant from the U.S. Forest Service to explore the feasibility of creating commercially viable 
volumes of herbs and special forest products. Timber-dependent areas within north central Florida 
must also investigate new ways of developing sustainable alternatives for economic growth. 



11-55 



Cooperatives can be developed to train fishermen to cultivate, hatch, and harvest crabs, shrimp, 
catfish, roe, oysters, and a number of other species and products. The JTPA program has been used 
in north central Florida to train fishermen to harvest oysters. This program is operating successfully 
and is a model for future efforts. 

Farms can harvest new crops which take advantage of seasonal change. Such crops can be grown 
earlier in north central Florida and be brought to market at a time when they command a premium 
price. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the University of Florida actively 
studies new crops that will grow under local conditions and climates. As developments are made, 
the University's extension agents work with local farmers to diversify their crops. Examples include 
strawberries, blueberries, and black mushrooms. Additional opportunities can be developed through 
IFAS to help broaden the variety of local crops. 

Farms can harvest tourists. Many farm and ranch owners across the country open their properties 
to visitors looking to experience farm life. Visitors pay farm and ranch owners for the chance to do 
farm chores, feed animals, ride horseback, fish the local streams, eat by a campfire, sleep in a lodge, 
and experience a lifestyle often only read about or seen on television. 

TOURISM 

Rural tourism is a major area of y for economic development in north central Florida. A 1992 study 
by the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council explored how tourism can be used to boost 
the regional economy. The study found many small rural communities throughout the United States 
use tourism as an economic development tool. The abundance of unspoiled natural resources in the 
region offers the potential for a strong ecotourism industry that can have a positive impact on the 
regional economy. 

Tourism's economic impact can be significant. Visitor data published by the Florida Department of 
Commerce, Bureau of Tourism, and the U.S. Travel Data Center in Washington suggests that each 
percentage point increase of Florida's tourism market captured by north central Florida could bring 
an additional $33 million per year to the region. An increase in tourism activity will raise the 
number of new business establishments and add hundreds of jobs. 

EXPANSION OF EXISTING BUSINESSES 

Studies have shown that small businesses provide most of the new jobs created in America. The 
local chambers of commerce have ongoing programs to help local businesses develop to their 
potential. Existing businesses can expand by taking advantage of several federal and state supported 
loan programs. 



11-56 



NEW SMALL BUSINESS FORMATION 

The recent losses incurred by the banking community and the subsequent increase in bank 
regulations imposed by federal agencies have created tighter lending practices among financial 
institutions. Entrepreneurs find it increasingly difficult to obtain new business financing and venture 
capital. Through the help of the SBA and the Economic Development Administration (EDA), 
business loans can be made available to small business owners through programs which provide 
attractive incentives to gain participation by local banks. 

The North Central Florida Regional Planning Council has recently begun to package SBA 7(a) loan 
applications for private entrepreneurs in the region. The Council also operates the North Central 
Florida Areawide Development Company, Inc. which is licensed by the SBA to administer the 504 
loan program in the eleven counties of north central Florida. Both programs are expected to affect 
the area's economy by helping small businesses obtain capital. 

The Council is hoping to establish an intermediary relending program with a low-interest loan from 
the Rural Economic Community Development Service. The program will allow the Council to 
balance its current loan programs to meet different objectives than those of the SBA and increase 
the number of participants eligible for low-interest loans. 

INTERNET AND THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY 

Internet access, access to computer packet-switching networks such as Telnet and Gulfnet, and 
access to commercial on-line services such as CompuServe and America On-Line is limited to 
Alachua, Columbia, Suwannee, and Taylor counties. Persons living in the remainder of the region 
can only access such services by paying long distance charges. Long distance charges can quickly 
add up for online computer users, rendering access to such services prohibitively expensive. 
Concern exists that the lack of access to such services may negatively affect business opportunities 
and the competitive environment of the region. 

Low-cost telecommunications access is rapidly becoming an important part of the public 
infrastructure and an important component of economic development planning. Traditional 
industrial-sector employment continues to decline nationwide while employment in information- 
based industries rise. Information-based industries have less need to locate near sources of raw 
materials or markets in order to take advantage of transportation economies or economies of scale. 
They can, and often do, develop and locate in less-populous areas where housing costs are lower 
and the quality of life is higher. However, such industries are dependent upon low-cost 
telecommunication service providers. Without cost-effective access to telecommunications services, 
rural north central will be at a competitive disadvantage in developing and attracting information- 
based industries. 



11-57 



The Florida Public Service Commission regulates intrastate charges and cost structures of Florida's 
telephone service providers. Local governments can petition the commission to create an Extended 
Calling Service Area. Extended Calling Service Areas allow residential telephone customers which 
currently pay per-minute toll charges to call nearby large cities such as Gainesville or Jacksonville 
the ability to call one nearby large city for a flat rate fee, typically 25 cents per call, in exchange for 
a higher basic telephone service rate. The increased basic telephone service rate typically ranges 
from three to four dollars per month. A majority of residential telephone customers within a local 
exchange must agree to the new rate structure before the commission will grant an Extended Calling 
Service Area. A flat fee of 25 cents per call makes access to on-line services and the Internet 
financially feasible as on-line computer users often spend one or more hours connected to a 
computerized on-line service during a single telephone call. 

The Florida Department of Education owns and operates the Florida Information and Resources 
Network (FIRN). FIRN provides educational institutions as well as agricultural extension offices 
with local dial-up access to the Internet from every county in the state. It may be possible to 
establish local dial-up connections to the Internet in every county for both business and residential 
telephone customers with the cooperation of the Florida Department of Education. 

PROBLEMS. NEEDS. AND OPPORTUNITIES 

The Council identifies the following economic development problems, needs, and opportunities: 

1 . An opportunity and need exists to retain and expand existing businesses in the region. 

2. A need exists to expand the region's agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry industries. 

3. A need and opportunity exist to assist in the formation of new small businesses. 

4. A need exists to increase the income level of the region's households. 

5. A need exists to increase economic development in Dixie and Taylor counties to 
minimize the adverse economic impacts of the Florida coastal waters fish net ban. 

6. An opportunity exists to expand the regional tourism industry. 

7. A need exists to maintain economic stability throughout the region. 

8. A need exists to ensure adequate public facilities to serve businesses and industrial 
development throughout the region. 

9. A need exists to establish local dial-up access from every north central Florida county 
to the Internet and to computerized packet switching networks. 



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REGIONAL GOALS AND POLICIES 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.1. Attract new high paying, value-added industries and expand existing 
businesses in the region. 

Regional Indicator 

In 1993, the average number of monthly employment reporting units located within the 
region was 8,018. 

Policy 2.1.1. Support and maintain the North Central Florida Areawide Development Company, 
Inc., an SBA 504 Certified Development Company which serves the region. 

Policy 2.1.2. Provide assistance to the business community in the retention and expansion of their 
businesses by packaging SBA 7a loans. 

Policy 2.1.3. Establish a revolving loan program to serve businesses located in the region. 

Policy 2.1.4. Work with private financial institutions to co-finance business loans. 

Policy 2.1.5. Develop and maintain micro-enterprise programs for neighborhood businesses and 
mini-loan programs with which to finance them. 

Policy 2.1.6. Assist and coordinate with the University of Florida, the Institute of Food and 
Agricultural Sciences, and other organizations to encourage the application of new technologies in 
mature industries so as to prolong and enhance their contributions to the regional economy. 

Policy 2.1.7. Expand the economic structure of Dixie and Taylor counties in order to minimize the 
adverse economic impacts of the Florida net ban. 



REGIONAL GOAL 2.2. Raise the median family income of north central Florida households. 
Regional Indicators 

1 . The 1990 median household income for north central Florida residents was $21,489. 

2. The 1990 per capita income of north central Florida residents was $1 1,083. 

Policy 2.2.1. Attract high-paying industries that are compatible with the environment by providing 
technical assistance and information. 

Policy 2.2.2. Assist small businesses in capital formation and locating within the region. 

11-59 



Policy 2.2.3. Provide longer and more complex training programs for workers in the region in order 
to attract high-tech industry that looks for well-trained and cross-trained employees. Apply new 
technologies in mature industries by drawing on workers as they are trained by these programs. 
Provide programs matching the demand for and supply of well-trained and cross-trained workers for 
both new and mature industries. 



REGIONAL GOAL 2.3. Expand north central Florida food, agriculture, aquaculture, forestry and 
related industries in order to be a competitive force in state, national, an international marketplaces. 

Regional Indicators 

1 . In 1990, 6,914 north central Florida residents were employed in Agriculture, Forestry, 
and Fishing. 

2. In 1990, 4.6 percent of all north central Florida employed residents were employed in 
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing. 

Policy 2.3.1. Protect and expand agricultural and forestry resources and activities by implementing 
initiatives such as best management practices. 

Policy 2.3.2. Continue working with the University of Florida to improve the regional economy. 

Policy 2.3.3. Establish public/private partnerships to provide technical, financial, and information 
services to the agricultural sector. 



REGIONAL GOAL 2.4. Expand the regional tourism industry. 
Regional Indicators 

1 . In 1993, there were 7,3 15 licensed hotel and motel rooms in the region. 

2. In 1993, the licensed seating capacity of all north central Florida restaurants was 
51,208. 

3. In Fiscal Year 1993-94, total annual attendance at state parks, preserves, and other 
state-owned areas located in north central Florida was 530,626. 

Policy 2.4.1. Provide assistance to the regional tourism development effort currently underway. 

Policy 2.4.2. Coordinate multi-agency efforts to expand tourism development in the region. 



11-60 



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3 Policy 2.4.3. Conserve the region's natural resources of regional significance as economic as well 
as natural resource assets. 



REGIONAL GOAL 2.5. Reduce the regional unemployment rate. 
Regional Indicators 

1 . The January, 1993, regional unemployment rate was 7.0 percent. 

2. The January, 1993, unemployment Rate in Dixie County was 1 1 .0 percent. 

3. The January, 1993, the Taylor County unemployment rate was 13.6 percent. 

4. The January, 1993, the Hamilton County unemployment rate was 16.5 percent. 

Policy 2.5.1. Coordinate actions directed to mitigating the adverse impacts created by the fish net 
ban. 



^ 



Policy 2.5.2. Develop a plan to assist Hamilton and surrounding counties in minimizing adverse 
impacts resulting from the cessation of phosphate mining. 

Policy 2.5.3. Diversify the region's economy by providing technical assistance and information. 

Policy 2.5.4. Support and coordinate with the Rural Economic Development Initiative of the Florida 
Department of Commerce, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the Florida Farm Bureau, 
and other organizations in addressing economic issues facing the region's agricultural, forestry, and 
fisheries industries. 



REGIONAL GOAL 2.6. Ensure adequate public utilities and facilities to serve business and 
industrial development throughout the region. 

Regional Indicator 

In 1995, 26 of the region's 33 incorporated municipalities had centralized water and 19 had 
centralized sewer. 

Policy 2.6.1. Provide technical assistance to local governments in applying for state and federal 
grants to construct or expand public facilities necessary to attracting and accommodating businesses 
and industries. 



11-61 



Policy 2.6.2. Provide technical assistance to local governments in updating and maintaining local 
comprehensive plans which address the adequacy of local public utilities in accommodating future 
growth and development. 



REGIONAL GOAL 2.7. Establish local dial-up access from every north central Florida county to 
the Internet and to computerized packet switching networks. 

Regional Indicator 

In 1995, four of the region's 1 1 counties had local dial-up access to the Internet. 

Policy 2.7.1. Provide assistance to local governments in filing petitions with the Florida Public 
Service Commission to create extended calling plans. 

Policy 2.7.2. Establish local dial-up access to community-based computer bulletin boards with 
access to the Internet throughout the entire region. 



11-62 



EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 



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STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREA: 
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS 

CONDITIONS AND TRENDS STATEMENT 

INTRODUCTION 

It was a cool, windy Friday, typical of the month of March in north central Florida. The National 
Weather Service was predicting the possibility of severe storms, particularly in Dixie and Taylor 
counties. Still, the weather forecast was nothing out of the ordinary and life went on as usual in the 
coastal fishing communities dotting Dixie and Taylor counties. Residents went to bed early, as they 
usually do in anticipation of an early morning fishing excursion. The rain came down hard with 
plenty of wind. It was so windy that electricity and telephone service was knocked out. Yes, it was 
a big storm, but how bad could it be? After all, it wasn't hurricane season and no evacuation order 
had been issued. 

Hud Lillion and Laurie O'Quinn from the unincorporated Taylor County coastal community of Dekle 
Beach remember the night well. "After watching the water for a while I went to bed," said Hud. "I 
woke up about 2:00 a.m. and looked out and saw water up on the tires of my truck but it didn't 
particularly alarm me, so I went back to bed. Laurie woke up about 2:30 a.m. and told me Louis 
Lanier's house was gone and so was my truck. I knew then that this was more than just a storm, so 
we moved to the back of the house. Every wave that came in was knocking the boards up in the 
floor. I told Laurie we had to get out. I made my way to the back door. I fell through the floor two 
or three times. I couldn't hardly get the door open because of the wind and the door started smashing 
Laurie's hand." 

"We finally got out on the deck, then everything started collapsing so we jumped. We swam across 
the road to a home that was still standing and managed to get up on the deck. We managed to get 
inside and tried to find some life jackets, then that house started crumbling but we managed to get 
on the roof. A wave came and knocked off the roof. We grabbed hold of a board and floated up to 
Carlton Hamilton's home. It was still dark then, about 5:30 a.m. We stayed there for some minutes. 
Mrs. Sapp was there holding a baby. 34 We all huddled together to try and stay warm but we were 
freezing. Fred Morgan and Tom Geohagen came wading in waist deep water. The wind was still 
blowing about 65 mph. They took us to Craig and Ruth Harvey's house where some other people 
had gathered and there was a fire in the fireplace. We were just glad to be alive." 35 At 5:42 a.m. a 
weather forecaster in Tampa went on a statewide emergency radio network to issue a flood 
warning. 36 



"O'Quinn floated until she was able to grab another house, and that's when the woman swam by with a 
baby in her arms. 'She said, 'help me, my baby is dead,' and we just stood there and hugged each other until Fred 
and Tom came and got us out." "Counting People Instead of Bodies," Gainesville Sun . March 15, 1995. 

35 TaCo Times . Perry Florida, March 17, 1993. 

36 "Why the Delay in Storm-Surge Warning?" Gainesville Sun . March 19, 1993. 

III-l 



John Robertson was huddled in his travel trailer, listening to the rain and reading a mystery novel, 
when the owners of the nearby Keaton Beach Marina knocked on his door and told him he should 
join them in the marina's second-floor living quarters. "I'm 6-foot-4 and by the time I got to the 
marina I was swimming," Robertson said. "There is total destruction here. Just about everything 
is lost." Marina co-owner Brad Beach said a tidal surge caused the water to rise about 6 feet in 20 
minutes before dawn Saturday, and it ebbed just as quickly. During its short stay, the surge crumbled 
concrete foundations, flooded buildings, immersed vehicles and took homes, docks, and other 
structures with it as it retreated. "I never saw anything like it in my life," Beach said, "It took just 
20 (minutes) to get 6 feet, and then there were 4- to 5-foot waves on top of it. Houses finally floated 
away." 37 

In just 20 minutes Saturday morning, March 13, 1993, north central Florida coastal residents went 
from just another spring storm to the Storm of the Century. The storm devastated the region's entire 
coastline. Fully 25 percent of the region's coastal homes were destroyed and another 25 percent 
were damaged. Dixie County was lucky. No one died. Taylor County was not. Ten people 
drowned. On March 13th, President Clinton declared Florida a disaster area. 

Predicting the severity of the storm and the height of the tide surge was difficult for the National 
Weather Service. The storm could not have occurred except for a unique set of circumstances. The 
storm developed suddenly late Friday as incoming Arctic air collided with a warm air stationary front 
over the Gulf of Mexico. The difference in temperature between the two air masses was estimated 
at 50 degrees. The dramatic contrast in air temperatures allowed the storm to develop very rapidly. 
A dramatic drop in barometric pressure followed. The storm produced the lowest barometric 
pressure ever recorded in the City of Tallahassee. Drops in barometric pressure are normally 
associated with tropical storms, which this was not. The drop in barometric pressure led to high 
winds. The region experienced a high tide when the storm hit land. These factors combined to 
produce a storm surge that surpassed forecasters predictions. 38 

Dixie and Taylor County coastal residents were unlikely to hear an evacuation warning had the 
weather service issued one. Neither Dixie nor Taylor County officials had access to the statewide 
emergency radio network (NAWAS). Both counties were outside the range of the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio station network and neither county had 
emergency sirens. 

PLANNING FOR COASTAL STORMS 

As a result of the Presidential disaster declaration for the Storm of the Century, the President 
activated an Interagency Hazard Mitigation Team to identify areas of significant hazards, visit sites, 
and evaluate the impact of the disaster. The team was comprised of representatives of federal, state, 
regional, and local agencies who possess the varied backgrounds and expertise necessary to promote 
a comprehensive approach to hazard mitigation. The team issued a report containing 25 



37 "Taylor County Beach Residents Return to Ruins," Gainesville Sun . March 16, 1993. 
38,1 Weather Still Hard to Predict," Gainesville Sun . March 17, 1993. 

III-2 



i 



recommendations which describe the actions, time-lines, and potential funding sources necessary 
to reduce future losses from similar events. Among the team's findings were recommendations for 
the installation of additional weather monitoring equipment in coastal areas to help weather 
forecasters better predict storm events as well as a better warning system for coastal residents. 

NO AA weather radio signals cover approximately 25 percent of the region. Virtually none of the 
north central Florida coastal area can receive NOAA broadcasts. Taylor County is currently applying 
for a federal grant to establish an NOAA weather station that will provide coverage for both Dixie 
and Taylor counties. Even if the grant is funded, much of inland north central Florida will remain 
outside NOAA weather radio coverage. A need continues to exist for an additional NOAA weather 
station to serve Columbia, Hamilton, Madison, and Suwannee counties. 

During the Storm of the Century, the statewide emergency warning system consisted of a dedicated 
telephone system linking federal and state weather forecasters with local governments. The system 
allows for two-way conversation similar to a telephone system party-line. Few local governments 
in north central Florida were connected to this system due to its high installation and maintenance 
costs. A sophisticated satellite-based communications system is replacing it. The new system will 
link 95 emergency management agencies throughout the state to provide voice, high-speed data, 
facsimile, and video communications capabilities. It is more reliable than NAWAS since it is not 
dependent upon telephone lines and will perform under any weather conditions The system will be 
installed in every county, solving a missing link in north central Florida emergency management 
capabilities. 

At the time of the storm, no weather buoys or other government-owned weather monitoring 
instruments were located in the Gulf of Mexico off the Big Bend coastline. Weather buoys provide 
valuable information regarding temperature, wind speed, wind direction, and barometric pressure. 
Meteorologists can run computer models that predict storm surge height based upon these factors. 
One weather buoy was installed in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 100 miles southwest of 
Horseshoe Beach in 1 994. The weather buoy contains weather instruments and a radio transmitter. 
It was the first instrument to identify hurricane force winds in 1995's Hurricane Allison. 39 

Storm surge increases in height as it nears land. A need exists for additional buoys or other 
meteorological instruments located at intervals of 50 and ten miles offshore to help meteorologists 
more accurately predict storm surges as coastal storms move landward. 

Dixie and Taylor counties have four small coastal communities: the unincorporated coastal 
communities of Jena-Steinhatchee, Dekle Beach-Keaton Beach, Suwannee, and the incorporated 
Town of Horseshoe Beach. Warning sirens can be useful means of notifying community residents 
of storm warnings and evacuation orders when other forms of communication fail. During the Storm 
of the Century, none of these communities had warning sirens. As of June, 1995, only Horseshoe 
Beach has subsequently acquired an emergency warning siren. A need exists to provide emergency 
warning sirens in the remaining coastal communities. 



39 

Mike Rucker, Public Information Officer, Florida Department of Community Affairs, Division of 
Emergency Management, June, 1995. 

III-3 



As was evident in the Storm of the Century, the greatest danger to coastal areas is the storm surge, 
a 20- to 100-mile wide wall of water generated by high winds, hurricane forward velocity, and sharp 
changes in barometric pressure present in coastal storms. Storm surges cause nine out of ten 
hurricane fatalities. Dixie and Taylor counties are among the most susceptible counties in the state 
and, perhaps, the nation, to inundation from storm surge. This is due to the geomorphology and the 
bathymetry of the Gulf of Mexico. Dixie and Taylor counties are located near the Florida panhandle 
where the coast curves west, creating a corner which can trap sea water. Along a straight coastline, 
the surge can dissipate more easily by flowing parallel to the coastline. However, in Dixie and 
Taylor counties, the seawater is trapped in Appalachee Bay where it piles up rather than flows out. 
The bathymetry, or sea bottom topography, of the gulf of Mexico is much shallower than most other 
U.S. coastal basins. A shallow basin can increase surge height by as much as 80 percent. 40 

The potential loss of life and property damage due to hurricanes in Dixie and Taylor counties is 
minimized due to their small populations and large coastal land holdings in public ownership. In 
1990, Dixie County's population was 10,585 while Taylor County's was 17,1 1 1. Population density 
is low. Taylor County had a 1990 population density of 16 persons per square mile, ranking 63rd 
among Florida's 67 counties. Dixie County had a 1990 population density of 15 persons per square 
mile, ranking 64th. 41 Additionally, approximately two-thirds of the Dixie and Taylor counties 
coastline is in public ownership. 

CLEARANCE TIMES AND SHELTER CAPACITIES 

The 1996 Cedar Key Basin Florida Hurricane Evacuation Study, Draft Technical Data Report defines 
clearance time as the time period covering the issuance of an evacuation order until the last person 
has arrived at a safe location. Clearance time is comprised of both a behavioral response time 
component and a travel time component. The clearance time is calculated by adding travel time to 
the assumed behavioral response time. 

The study concluded that behavioral response time is mainly determined by public perception of the 
threat from the hurricane. Influential factors include when the hurricane is expected to strike land, 
strength of the storm, and how soon the escape routes may be cut off. Table 3.1 identifies three 
clearance times based upon differing behavioral response times. The study notes that under normal 
circumstances, the most likely behavioral response is the median behavioral response, where the 
evacuating population start to leave in 6.25 hours after the issuance of an evacuation order. If the 
evacuation order is issued in the middle of the night, then the slow behavioral response of 9.25 hours 
is applicable. If the hurricane makes a sudden and unexpected turn inland, then the quick response 
time of 4.25 hours is applicable. 



40 North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, 1990 North Central Florida Regional Hurricane Inland 
Shelter Study Technical Report Update . Gainesville, FL, 1990, pg. 10. 

41 Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1990 Census Handbook. Florida . University Press of 
Florida, Gainesville, FL., 1994, Table 1.03. 

III-4 



TABLE 3.1 



HURRICANE EVACUATION CLEARANCE TIMES, IN HOURS 



Response Type by 

Tourist Occupancy 

Levels 



Dixie County 



Tropical Storm 
Category 1 
Hurricane 



Category 3-5 
Hurricane 



Taylor County 



Tropical Storm 
Category 1 
Hurricane 



Category 3-5 
Hurricane 



Low Toursit Occupancy 



Rapid Response 


4.00 
6.00 
9.00 


4.00 
6.00 
9.00 


4.25 
6.25 
9.25 


4.25 


Medium Response 


6.25 


Long Response 


9.25 



High Tourist Occupancy 



Rapid Response 


4.00 
6.00 
9.00 


4.25 
6.00 
9.00 


4.25 
6.25 

9.25 


4.25 


Medium Response 


6.25 


Long Response 


9.25 



Source: Department of the Army, Jacksonville District Corps of Engineers, Cedar Key Basin Florida Hurricane Evacuation Study. 
Draft Technical Data Report, Table 6-8a, Jacksonville, FL., 1996. 

The draft study estimates that a total of 26,500 people will evacuate during a strong storm in 1995. 
Of these, 4,150 are expected to evacuate to local public shelters. The study noted that Dixie County 
has 2,100 persons expected to evacuate to public shelters while Taylor County is expected to 
evacuate 2,050 persons to public shelters. The study identified a surplus of local public shelter space 
of 6,510. Taylor County has a surplus of 4,931 while Dixie County has a surplus capacity of 1,569. 
The study does not project future hurricane shelter space supply and demand. 42 

LONG-RANGE PLANNING FOR HURRICANE EMERGENCIES 

Insuring the public safety from hurricane hazards also requires long-range planning. Directing 
growth away from areas subject to hurricane surge inundation can save lives and reduce property 
damage. North central Florida local governments have successfully reduced allowable dwelling unit 
densities within coastal areas. In Taylor County, the Future Land Use Plan Map identifies two small 
coastal communities, Steinhatchee and Dekle Beach - Adams Beach. The maximum allowable 
dwelling unit density within these communities is two units per acre. The Taylor County 
Comprehensive Plan limits dwelling unit densities to one unit per five acres and one unit per ten 



42, 



Department of the Army, Jacksonville District Corps of Engineers, Cedar Key Basin Florida Hurricane 
Evacuation Study. Draft Technical Data Report , tables 6-4 and 6-5, Jacksonville, FL., 1996. 



III-5 



acres for the remaining privately-held lands on the Taylor County coast. 43 Dixie County has three 
coastal communities, the unincorporated communities of Jena and Suwannee as well as the Town 
of Horseshoe Beach. The maximum allowable dwelling unit density in Horseshoe Beach is four 
units per acre. In Jena and Suwannee, the maximum allowable density is eight units per acre. The 
areal extent of these three communities is small, representing approximately three square miles of 
land area. The Dixie County Comprehensive Plan limits dwelling unit densities on the remaining 
privately-held coastal area lands to one unit per ten acres and one unit per 40 acres. 44 

RIVERINE AND FRESHWATER FLOODING 

The Suwannee River System has a broad, expansive floodplain which is regularly inundated in 
response to spring rains. 45 The Suwannee River Water Management District, in conjunction with 
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has mapped the 1 00-year floodplain of the 
Suwannee River System in order to assist local governments with management of the floodplain. 
Many local governments within the region have adopted floodplain ordinances for the Suwannee 
River System to regulate the construction and location of structures within the 100-year floodplain. 

Every north central Florida county adjacent to the Suwannee River System has, and requires through 
their comprehensive plans, low dwelling unit densities within the floodplain. The comprehensive 
plans of north central Florida local governments limit rural floodplain dwelling unit densities to one 
unit per five acres and one unit per ten acres. Six small urban areas (Branford, Dowling Park, 
Fanning Springs, Old Town, Suwannee, and White Springs) are located within the Suwannee River 
100-year floodplain. Within these urban areas, the maximum allowable residential density within 
the floodplain is four units per acre. 

Along the major tributaries of the Suwannee (Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Withlacoochee Rivers), 
dwelling unit densities within the 1 00-year floodplain are also limited to one unit per five acres and 
one unit per ten acres. No north central Florida municipalities or urban areas are located within the 
100-year floodplains of these rivers. The 100-year floodplains of the region's regionally significant 
coastal rivers (Aucilla, Econfina, and Steinhatchee) are similarly protected with maximum allowable 
dwelling unit densities ranging from one unit per five acres to one unit per ten acres. Only one urban 
area, the unincorporated town of Steinhatchee, is within the 1 00-year floodplain of a coastal river 
(the Steinhatchee River). As previously noted on page III-6, the maximum allowable residential 
density in Steinhatchee is two units per acre. 

In addition to the Suwannee River System, FEMA has prepared maps which identify flood hazard 
areas for all unincorporated areas of the region as well as most of the region's incorporated 



43 Taylor County Board of County Commissioners, Taylor County Comprehensive Plan . Perry, Fl., 
November, 1991. 

44 Dixie County Board of County Commissioners, Dixie County Comprehensive Plan . Cross City, Fl., 
November, 1991. 

45 The Suwannee River System consists of the Suwannee River and its major tributaries the Alapaha, Santa 
Fe, and the Withlacoochee rivers. 

III-6 



* 



municipalities. 46 Thirty-one of the region's 44 local governments participate in FEMA's National 
Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Participation in the program makes federal flood insurance, the 
only affordable flood insurance in the nation, available for properties located within the 1 00-year 
floodplain. Of the remaining local governments, FEMA has identified five north central Florida 
incorporated municipalities whose jurisdictions contain flood hazard areas which are not participants 
in the NFIP. All north central Florida local governments with floodable areas within their 
jurisdiction, regardless of whether they participate in the NFIP, have comprehensive plans which 
identify floodable areas and contain policies which address flood management. 

TORNADOES 

Between 1959 and 1994, 120 tornadoes have touched down in north central Florida resulting in six 
deaths and 65 injuries. 47 Tornadoes occur most frequently in the region during the months of May 
through August, with June as the peak month. However, tornadoes can occur year-round. Currently, 
there is no accurate way to predict where or when a tornado will "touch down." Due to their violent 
nature and the increasing number of mobile homes locating in the region, the probability of property 
damage and deaths due to tornadoes is increasing. 

While mobile homes are of special concern, all north central Florida buildings are vulnerable to 
tornado damage. Few conventionally-built homes in the region have basements or underground 
tornado shelters due to a high water table which makes their construction impractical. None of the 
region's local governments require construction of tornado shelters or safe rooms for large shopping 
malls, schools, hospitals, or mobile home parks. The construction of safe rooms may be financially 
infeasible given the level of risk. 

Improvements have been made to the region's tornado warning system. The National Weather 
Service (NWS) installed Doppler weather radar at its Jacksonville and Tallahassee weather stations 
in 1995 as part of a nationwide modernization program. These locations provide Doppler weather 
radar information for all eleven north central Florida counties. Doppler radar is a significant 
improvement over the older weather radar system. Under the old system, meteorologists had to 
identify tornadoes based on certain visual patterns displayed on the radar screen. Doppler radar 
detects wind directions and wind velocities at a high degree of resolution within a storm. In addition 
to displaying radar data on a screen, Doppler radar data is fed to a computer which helps 
meteorologists understand the storm's dynamics. Meteorologists at the Jacksonville weather station 
believe Doppler radar allows NWS to issue tornado warnings ten to 15 minutes earlier than they 
could using the prior system. Accuracy is also increased. In June, 1995's, Hurricane Allison, the 
Jacksonville weather station identified 16 of the 17 tornadoes which occurred within their area of 
jurisdiction. According to Al Sandrick, a meteorologist stationed at the Jacksonville NWS station, 
"We would never have imagined achieving that type of accuracy with the old radar system." 



The north central Florida communities yet to be mapped are Bell, Fort White, Hawthorne, Jasper, 
Jennings, Newberry, Raiford, and Trenton. 

47 National Weather Service, Miami Forecast Office, 1995. 

III-7 



REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FACILITIES 

The facilities listed in Table 3.2 are recognized as regionally significant facilities. 48 

TABLE 3.2 
REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FACILITIES 

Public Emergency Shelters 

NOAA Radio Stations 

Weather Buoys and Similar Off-shore Weather Monitoring Equipment 

Doppler Weather Radar Installations Covering the Region 

Warning Sirens in Coastal Communities 

Gainesville Fire Rescue Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team 

PCS, Inc., Chemical Emergency Response Team 

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RELEASES 

Under contract with the Florida Department of Community Affairs, the North Central Florida 
Regional Planning Council serves as staff to the North Central Florida Local Emergency Planning 
Committee (LEPC). The LEPC was established in 1988 in response to the federal Emergency 
Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) which requires the preparation of local 
emergency response plans for hazardous materials releases which, for the State of Florida, have been 
developed utilizing the eleven regional planning council districts. 49 The North Central Florida LEPC 
is composed of representatives of 17 different occupational categories. Membership is also 
distributed geographically to assure that each of the region's eleven counties has at least one resident 
serving as a member of the LEPC. Committee members are appointed by the State Emergency 
Response Committee. 



Hurricane evacuation routes recognized as regionally significant transportation facilities are listed in 
Table 5.8. North central Florida regionally significant facilities and resources, as defined in Rule 27E.005, F.A.C.. 
consist of Regionally Significant Emergency Preparedness Facilities identified in Table 3.2, Natural Resources of 
Regional Significance identified in Table 4.1, Regionally Significant Transportation Facilities identified in Table 
5.8, and Regionally Significant Facilities and Resources, identified in Section VI. 

49 Although referred to as a local plan, it is, in fact, a regional plan which addresses all eleven north central 
Florida counties. 

III-8 



; 



The local emergency response plan for north central Florida was adopted by the Committee on 
June 9, 1989, and last updated on May 19, 1995. The LEPC emergency response plan identifies 
locations of possible hazardous materials releases based upon known locations of hazardous 
materials. The plan also delineates vulnerable zones. 50 

In addition to the emergency response plan, the LEPC is also involved in establishing training 
programs, conducting emergency response exercises, providing public information campaigns, and 
other activities aimed at minimizing risks from hazardous materials releases. The LEPC recently 
completed a study which identifies 20 facilities with the potential of causing regional impacts should 
a worst-case hazardous materials release occur. 51 A facility is considered regional if a release at its 
location could affect multiple jurisdictions or if the quantity of hazardous materials requires more 
resources than are locally available. After identification, the LEPC helps coordinate the development 
and review of response guidelines between the regional facility and responders. 

The methodology developed by the Council in conducting the enhanced analysis could be used to 
update the 1 1 individual county emergency management plans to include all north central Florida 
facilities with a likelihood of causing regional impacts should a hazardous materials release occur. 
In addition to serving as staff to the LEPC, the Council provides technical assistance to local 
governments in developing county-level hazardous materials emergency response plans. Between 
1989 and 1995, the Council assisted ten of the region's eleven counties in developing either their 
original plans or revisions to their plans. The Council continues to make this technical assistance 
available to requesting local governments. 

While the LEPC and county hazardous materials emergency response plans have a good 
understanding of what stationary facilities have in terms of hazardous materials, little is known about 
hazardous materials moving down roads and railroads in the region. The LEPC has not conducted 
a commodity flow study of the region's roads and railroads. Given the rural nature of north central 
Florida and the large populations located south of the region, it is likely that the biggest hazardous 
materials emergencies involving unknown chemicals could result from releases from trucks and 
trains passing through the region. 

When a hazardous materials release occurs, a local fire department or other local government 
personnel arrive at the scene and determine if local resources can deal with the release. If the 
incident requires greater than local resources, the local government contacts one of the region's two 
regional response teams. One of the response teams is run by the City of Gainesville Fire 
Department while the other is operated by PCS in Hamilton County. 



Vulnerable zones are areas where the estimated chemical concentration from an accidental release is at a 
level where people's health could be adversely impacted during a worst-case release. 

North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Enhanced Hazards Analyses . North Central Florida 
Local Emergency Planning Committee, Gainesville, Fl, 1994. 

III-9 



The LEPC has adopted a needs assessment for additional regional response teams to assure a timely 
response to hazardous materials spills in the western portion of the region. For example, the LEPC 
has determined that the worst-case hazardous materials accident in Taylor County is the release of 
chlorine in the City of Perry as the result of a railroad accident. Currently, such a spill is likely to 
result in a telephone call to either the Tallahassee Fire Department, the PCS emergency response 
team, or the Gainesville Fire Department. Tallahassee is the closest response team to Taylor County. 
Nevertheless, the LEPC has determined that the response time of even the closest emergency 
response unit, the Tallahassee Fire Department, is too great to adequately protect the public from the 
release of chlorine gas from a rail car. The LEPC needs assessment notes that response times are 60 
minutes or less to hazardous materials accidents in every community within the region except for 
Perry, Cross City, and Greenville where response times are over one hour. The needs assessment 
also notes that adequate response times in metropolitan areas is generally considered to be 30 
minutes. Given the high costs associated with maintaining hazardous materials response times and 
the rural nature of the region, the assessment establishes a goal of providing a 60 minute response 
to hazardous materials accidents. 52 

As noted earlier, the Council staff assists the LEPC in staging hazardous materials emergency 
response exercises to test the effectiveness of the plans and to provide valuable training to emergency 
response teams. The LEPC and Madison County plans were tested on April 9, 1994, with a full- 
scale hazardous materials exercise. The scenario involved a gasoline truck hitting a train hauling 
phosphoric acid and anhydrous ammonia. Local responders gained valuable experience from the 
exercise. The Valdosta, Georgia, Fire Department hazardous materials response team crossed the 
state line to participate in the exercise. Also, in 1994, 35 classes were held training 671 fire fighters, 
law enforcement, and medical personnel. Most of the training was at the awareness-level, in which 
first responders are trained to recognize, identify, and make the proper notifications for possible 
hazardous materials incidents. 53 

The LEPC is actively working to reduce the risks associated with hazardous materials to the 
community as well as to first responders. To assist the regulated community, the LEPC has notified 
over 2,000 facilities of their potential reporting requirements. The LEPC has also provided technical 
assistance to help these facilities comply with the reporting requirements of EPCRA. The LEPC is 
also implementing a program to inform the public about its "right-to-know." It has held four "How- 
to-Comply" seminars. In both 1989 and 1991, seminars were conducted in Gainesville and Live 
Oak. Over 2,000 businesses and government agencies were invited with over 200 persons attending. 
The LEPC has also compiled a library of information about the program and subject facilities located 
in the region. 



- 



52 For more information regarding the need for an additional regional emergency response team in Perry, see 
North Central Florida Local Emergency Planning Committee, Needs Assessment for Additional Hazardous Materials 
Emergency Response Teams. Training, and Equipment in North Central Florida . North Central Florida Regional 
Planning Council, Gainesville, Fl, November 17, 1995. 

53 First responders are individuals most likely to be First to respond to the scene of a hazardous material 
release. First responders typically include Fire fighters, policemen, and county sheriff personnel. 

111-10 



STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT EFFORTS 

In the aftermath of 1992's Hurricane Andrew, the state revitalized its efforts in emergency 
preparedness planning, especially for hurricanes. After Andrew, the Governor's Disaster Planning 
and Response Review Committee was established to identify problems with statewide disaster 
preparedness and recommend improvements. In a report commonly known as the Lewis Report after 
Committee Chairman Philip D. Lewis, the Committee made 99 recommendations as to how the state 
could improve its ability to handle emergencies. 54 The Committee identified five key 
recommendations: improve communications at and among all levels of government; strengthen plans 
for evacuation, shelter, and post-disaster response and recovery; enhance intergovernmental 
coordination; improve training; and provide sufficient funding for the development of emergency 
management plans and activities. 

The major recommendations of the Lewis report were incorporated into amendments to the State 
Emergency Management Act (Chapter 252, Florida Statutes ). Formerly, the act required the 
preparation of three, and sometimes four, county emergency management plans: a Peacetime 
Emergency Plan, a Nuclear Civil Protection Plan, a Hazardous Materials Emergency Plan, and a 
Radiological Emergency Plan for counties located within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. These 
plans are now consolidated into a single Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). 
Nuclear civil protection planning was de-emphasized due to the greater likelihood of emergencies 
resulting from other events. Another major change to the legislation was the creation of the 
Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund from surcharges on residential and 
commercial property insurance policies. Funds from the trust are used to support the Florida 
Department of Community Affairs, Division of Emergency Management (DEM), as well as local 
government emergency preparedness agencies. The trust fund allowed, by 1 994, every north central 
Florida county to hire a full-time emergency management director. 55 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLANS 

Rule 9G-6, Florida Administrative Code. ( F.A.C. ). requires local governments to prepare revised 
comprehensive emergency management plans which meet the requirements of rule 9G-7, F.A.C. 
Each county is to revise its plan by October 1, 1995. Municipal governments, which have the option 
of preparing their own plans, are to revise their plans to meet the requirements of rule 9G-7, F.A.C . 
at a later date. 

The county CEMP is to provide a detailed description of the process to be followed at the local level 
whenever an emergency or disaster occurs as a result of natural or manmade causes. Such 
emergencies include, but are not limited to: tornadoes, hurricanes, wind storms, floods, freezes, 
electrical generating capacity shortages, drought, hazardous materials releases, and civil 



54 Governor's Disaster Planning and Response Review Committee, Draft Final Report . Executive Office of 



the Governor, Tallahassee, Fl, December 2, 1992. 

55 With the e: 
management director 



With the exception of Madison County, every north central Florida county has a full-time emergency 



III- 11 



disturbances. County CEMPs are no longer required to develop or maintain nuclear attack civil 
protection plans. Each county CEMP is required to address the following sixteen emergency support 
functions: communications, energy, fire fighting, food and water, hazardous materials, health and 
medical services, information and planning, law enforcement and security, mass care, military 
support, public works and engineering, public information, resource support, transportation, search 
and rescue, and volunteers and donations. County CEMPs are to be submitted to the Florida 
Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for compliance review. 

MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS 

Most north central Florida local governments have not entered into formal mutual aid agreements 
with their neighbors. If a north central Florida local government requires assistance, it merely calls 
and their neighboring local government responds. Few such requests have been made, and where 
they occurred, in the spirit of cooperation, local governments did not charge the requesting local 
government to cover the costs of the request. However, in an age of increasingly tight local 
government budgets, the need for more specialized regional response teams, and concerns regarding 
liability issues, formal mutual aid agreements are becoming increasingly important to assure 
assistance is available. 

Mutual aid agreements provide greater assurances that assistance will be provided, when available, 
by other local governments. An agreement can decrease the time required by local governments to 
exchange resources during an emergency without the delay of declaring a formal "state of 
emergency." This is especially important due to the short timeframes associated with hazardous 
materials releases. 

The State Emergency Management Act authorizes DEM to develop and enter into mutual aid 
agreements. The Division has prepared a statewide mutual aid agreement and is requesting all local 
governments to adopt the agreement. 

The statewide agreement allows for reimbursement to assisting local governments for most incurred 
costs from the Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund as well as from the 
requesting local government. The agreement also establishes a supervision and control structure for 
assisting local government personnel and resources at the scene of the emergency, formalizes 
procedures for making emergency assistance requests, and resolves other mutual aid issues. As of 
January 4, 1995, three of the region's 1 1 counties and seven of the region's 33 municipalities had 
adopted the agreement. 56 



56 Florida Department of Community Affairs, Division of Emergency Management, "Statewide Mutual Aid 
Agreements for Catastrophic Disaster Response and Recovers," Tallahassee, FL, January 4, 1995. 

111-12 



PROBLEMS. NEEDS. AND OPPORTUNITIES 

The Council identifies the following emergency preparedness problems, needs, and opportunities: 

1 . A need exists for an additional NO AA weather station radio to serve Columbia, Hamilton, 
Madison, and Suwannee counties. 

2. A need exists for additional weather monitoring buoys or other meteorological instruments 
at 100, 50, and 10 mile locations in the Gulf of Mexico spaced approximately 50 miles apart 
from Pinellas to Franklin counties. 

3. A need exists for the installation of emergency warning sirens in north central Florida coastal 
communities. 

4. An opportunity exists to make flood hazard insurance available within all north central 
Florida local government jurisdictions. 

5. A need exists to reduce the response times of regional hazardous material response teams to 
hazardous materials emergencies to 60 minutes in Perry, Cross City, and Greenville. 

6. Both a need and an opportunity exist for all north central Florida local governments to 
receive assistance from other local governments during emergencies by becoming signatories 
to the Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement for Catastrophic Disaster Response and Recovery. 

REGIONAL GOALS AND POLICIES 

REGIONAL GOAL 3.1. Improve emergency preparedness for coastal storms in the region. 

Regional Indicators 

1 . As of June 1 , 1 995, one coastal weather buoy exists in the Gulf of Mexico located 
approximately 100 miles southwest of Horseshoe Beach. 

2. As of June 1, 1995, NOAA weather radio transmissions covered 20.0 percent of the 
region. 

3. As of June 1, 1995, one north central Florida coastal community had an emergency 
warning siren. 

4. As of January 1, 1996, Dixie County had a surplus of 1,569 public shelter spaces. 

5. As of January 1, 1996, Taylor County had a surplus of 4,931 public shelter spaces. 

6. As of January 1, 1996, Dixie County had a Long Response clearance time of 9.00 hours. 



Ill- 13 



7. As of January 1, 1996, Taylor County had a Long Response clearance time of 9.25 hours. 

Policy 3.1.1. Install weather monitoring buoys or other meteorological instruments at 100, 50, and 
10 mile locations in the Gulf of Mexico spaced approximately 50 miles apart along the west Florida 
coastline from Pinellas to Franklin counties. 

Policy 3.1.2. Establish NOAA weather radio station radio coverage for all of north central Florida. 

Policy 3.1.3. Establish emergency warning sirens for north central Florida coastal communities. 

Policy 3.1.4. Maintain up-to-date hurricane evacuation and inland hurricane shelter plans for north 
central Florida. 

Policy 3.1.5. With the exception of enhancements necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of 
its residents, avoid the expenditure of state funds that subsidize development in Coastal High Hazard 
Areas. 



REGIONAL GOAL 3.2. Participation by all north central Florida local governments in the 
National Flood Insurance Program. 

Regional Indicators 

1. As of February 17, 1995, 30 of the region's 35 local governments containing flood 
hazard areas within their jurisdiction participated in the National Flood Insurance 
Program. 

2. As of January 1, 1996, National Flood Insurance Rate Maps are unavailable for eight 
north central Florida municipalities. 

Policy 3.2.1. Maintain local government eligibility for the FEMA Flood Insurance program. 

Policy 3.2.2. Assist the remaining five non-participating north central Florida local governments 
whose jurisdictions contain floodable area to become eligible and apply for the National Flood 
Insurance Program. 

Policy 3.2.3. Request FEMA to prepare National Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the remaining eight 
north central Florida municipalities for which such maps have not been prepared. 






111-14 



^ REGIONAL GOAL 3.3. Reduce response times of regional hazardous materials response teams 
to 60 minutes for hazardous materials emergencies in Perry, Cross City, and Greenville. 

Regional Indicator 

As of January 1 , 1 994, no regional hazardous materials response team is located within a 
sixty minute response time of Perry, Cross City, or Greenville. 

Policy 3.3.1. Establish a regional hazardous materials response team in or near the City of Perry. 

Policy 3.3.2. Provide state funding for regional hazardous materials emergency response teams. 



REGIONAL GOAL 3.4. Improve the ability of emergency response teams to respond to hazardous 
materials emergences. 

Regional Indicator 

As of January 1, 1996, no commodity flow studies have been undertaken to determine the 
types and amounts of hazardous materials moving via railroads and highways in the region. 

Policy 3.4.1. Conduct a commodity flow study to determine the types and amounts of hazardous 
materials moving via railroads and highways located in the region. 

Policy 3.4.2. Continue to provide technical assistance to local governments in the preparation of their 
hazardous materials response plans. 

Policy 3.4.3. Continue to serve as staff to the North Central Florida LEPC. 

Policy 3.4.4. Provide local emergency dispatch operators with a summary of hazards analysis 
information so as to inform responders as to what types of hazardous materials at the scene of the 
emergency. 



REGIONAL GOAL 3.5. All north central Florida local governments are signatories to the 
Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement for Catastrophic Disaster Response and Recovery. 

Regional Indicator 

As of January 4, 1995, ten of north central Florida's 44 local governments had adopted the 
Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement for Catastrophic Disaster Response and Recovery. 

Policy 3.5.1. Actively promote north central Florida local governments to adopt the statewide 
mutual aid agreement for catastrophic disaster response and recovery. 



Ill- 15 



NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 



W 



amended August 28, 1997 



« 



STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREA: NATURAL 
RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 

CONDITIONS AND TRENDS STATEMENT 

INTRODUCTION 

North central Florida is one of the largest planning districts in the state in terms of area yet one of 
the smallest in terms of population. As a result, the region has large expanses of undeveloped areas 
and unspoiled natural resources. The region consists of 6,813 square miles, all of which is classified 
by the Council as a natural resource of regional significance. 57 

Natural resources of regional significance are natural resources or systems of interrelated natural 
resources, which due to their function, size, rarity, or endangerment, provide benefits of regional 
significance to the natural or human environment. 58 They consist of both coastal and inland 
wetlands, rivers and their associated floodplains, large forested areas, lakes, springs, the Floridan 
Aquifer, and land areas with the potential to adversely affect the water quality of the aquifer (stream- 
to-sink watersheds and high recharge areas). Listed species are also recognized as natural resources 
of regional significance. 59 

Regionally significant natural resources play important roles in the region's economy and quality of 
life. Drinking water for most residents is drawn from the Floridan Aquifer. The Suwannee-Santa 
Fe river system and fresh water wetlands serve a valuable role in regulating surface water runoff and 
flooding. The salt marsh provides a valuable breeding ground for many varieties of commercial 
seafood. Commercial forest lands play an important role in the regional economy, while public lands 
provide valuable resource-based recreation for north central Florida residents. Both private and 
public lands provide important habitats for the survival of native plant and animal species. Nearly 
all identified natural resources of regional significance play, or can play, an important role in the 
region's budding ecotourism industry. 



Includes the Floridan Aquifer, a natural resource of regional significance which underlies the entire 



region. 



5 ^Jorth central Florida regionally significant facilities and resources, as defined in Rule 27E.005, F.A.C.. 
consist of Regionally Significant Emergency Preparedness Facilities identified in Table 3.2, Natural Resources of 
Regional Significance identified in Table 4.1, Regionally Significant Transportation Facilities identified in Table 
5.8, and Regionally Significant Facilities and Resources, identified in Section VI. 

59 • • 

Listed species are those plant and animal species classified as Endangered, Threatened, or Species of 
Special Concern in Florida's Endangered Species. Threatened Species, and Species of Special Concern: Official 
Lists , published by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. 

IV- 1 
amended August 28, 1997 



Although mapped as discrete geographic units, 60 natural resources of regional significance are really parts of 
an interconnected natural system extending across and beyond the region. Actions in one part of the system 
can have significant adverse consequences elsewhere. For example, the Big Bend Seagrass Beds and the 
fishery it supports are dependent upon fresh water flows from the Suwannee and other coastal rivers. The 
rivers are in turn dependent upon headwater swamps for their base flows of fresh water. Dredging and filling 
headwater swamps, such as the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and north central Florida's San Pedro Bay and 
Mallory Swamp, could have negative impacts upon the seagrass beds and coastal fishery. One purpose of the 
regional plan is to identify natural resources of regional significance and include strategies to minimize 
potential adverse impacts to these resources. 

Natural resources of regional significance are grouped into five categories: Coastal and Marine Resources, 
Ground Water Resources, Natural Systems, Planning and Resource Management Areas, and Surface Water 
Systems. The text, maps, and policies of this element are organized around the five map layers. 61 

Natural resources of regional significance are listed in Table 4.1. The regional plan identifies 203 natural 
resources of regional significance. Quantifying the number of identified natural resources of regional 
significance is difficult. Several are listed multiple times. Some natural resources, such as Peacock Springs 
State Recreation Area, contain springs which are designated as natural resources of regional significance in 
their own right Areas of High Recharge Potential to the Floridan Aquifer are listed only once. However, the 
Ground Water Resources map identifies 27 separate areas as potential high aquifer recharge areas. Some 
resources defy counting. For example, 256 parcels owned by the Suwannee and St Johns water management 
districts are recognized as natural resources of regional significance. Many of these parcels are adjacent to one 
another, which could justify grouping them together for a lower parcel count Instead, they are counted as one 
natural resource and classified as "Water Management District Lands". Listed species are located in numerous 
unmapped locations throughout the region. Additionally, the number and location of occurrences of listed 
species can change over time as new locations of listed species are discovered. 

Maps of natural resources of regional significance included in the regional plan vary widely in terms of 
accuracy. Some coverages, such as the Suwannee River Corridor, were imported directly into the Council's 
computerized geographic information system (GIS) from the Suwannee River Water Management District's 
GIS. Coverages (maps) which are directly imported from one GIS system to another represent the most 
accurate coverages contained in the SRPP. However, most coverages depicted in the SRPP maps were hand- 
digitized by Council staff from paper maps. The Council's hand-digitized coverages vary widely in terms of 
detail and accuracy. While reasonably accurate for purposes of presentation in the SRPP, they should not be 
used as a substitute for the source maps from which they were derived. 



The habitat of listed species is not mapped. 

The Floridan Aquifer is not mapped since it underlies the entire region; the Florida Middle Ground is also 
not mapped as it lies outside the region; and the Big Bend Seagrass Beds are only partially mapped as much of the 
resource is located beyond the state's jurisdiction. 

IV-2 
amended August 28, 1997 



TABLE 4.1 
NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 



m 



Map Layer 


Classification 


Name 


Map ID# 


Acreage 


Coastal and Marine Resources 


Big Bend Salt Marsh 


Big Bend Salt Marsh 


n/a 


46,189.00 


Coastal and Marine Resources 


Big Bend Seagrass Beds 


Big Bend Seagrass Beds 


n/a 


165,599.00 


Coastal and Marine Resources 


Florida Middle Ground 


Florida Middle Ground 


n/a 


132,000.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Areas of High Recharge 
Potential to the Floridan Aquifer 


Areas of High Recharge 
Potential to the Floridan Aquifer 


n/a 


1,066,051.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Floridan Aquifer 


Floridan Aquifer 


n/a 


4,360,320.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Ichetucknee Trace 


Ichetucknee Trace 


n/a 


10,766.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Sinks 


Alachua Sink 


1 


1.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Sinks 


Aucilla River Sinks 


2 


2,000.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Sinks 


Brooks Sink 


3 


1.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Sinks 


Devil's Millhopper 


4 


1.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Sinks 


O'leno Sink 


5 


1.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Stream-to-Sink Watershed 


Alapaha River 


6 


56,502.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Stream-to-Sink Watershed 


Cannon Creek/Rose Creek/Price 
Creek 


7 


40,431.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Stream-to-Sink Watershed 


Falling Creek 


8 


15,471.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Stream-to-Sink Watershed 


Little River 


9 


21,907.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Stream-to-Sink Watershed 


Norton Creek 


10 


12,145.00 


Ground Water Resources 


Stream-to-Sink Watershed 


Rocky Creek 


11 


62,600.00 


Natural Systems 


Listed Species" 


n/a 


n/a 


n/a 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Private Lands 


Nature Conservancy Lands 


n/a 


3,993.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Aucilla River Sinks 


1 


1,097.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Austin Cary Memorial Forest 


2 


2,180.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Big Bend Coastal Tracts 


3 


81,158.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Big Gum Swamp National 
Wilderness Area 


4 


3,226.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Big Shoals Tract 


5 


2,577.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


County Conservation Areas 


n/a 


1,051.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Devil's Millhopper State 
Geologic Site 


6 


60.00 



IV-3 
amended August 28, 1997 



TABLE 4.1, Cont'd. 
NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 



Map Layer 


Classification 


Name 


MapID# 


Acreage 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Fanning Springs State 
Conservation and Recreation 
Area 




200.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Gum Root Swamp 


7 


30.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Ichetucknee Springs State Park 


8 


2,150.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Lake Altho Swamp 


9 


1,405.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Lochloosa Forest 


10 


27,437.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Lower Suwannee River National 
Wildlife Refuge 


11 


25,798.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Okefenokee National Wildlife 
Refuge 


12 


404.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


OMeno State Park 


13 


2,631.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Osceola National Forest 


14 


92,721.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Paynes Prairie State Preserve 


15 


18,479.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Peacock Springs State 
Recreation Area 


16 


274.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


River Rise State Preserve 


17 


2,652.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt. Areas 


Public Lands 


St Marks National Wildlife 
Refuge 


18 


519.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt. Areas 


Public Lands 


San Felasco Hammock State 
Preserve 


19 


6,230.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Santa Fe Swamp 


20 


5,567.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt. Areas 


Public Lands 


Steven Foster State Folk Cultural 
Center 


21 


210.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Suwannee River State Park 


22 


1,804.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Water Management District 
Easements 


n/a 


382.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Public Lands 


Water Management District 
Lands 


n/a 


68,085.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt. Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Alapaha River 


1 


218.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Alligator Lake 


2 


500.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Aucilla River 


3 


509.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Econftna River 


4 


212.00 



IV-4 
amended August 28, 1997 



TABLE 4.1, Cont'd. 
NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 



Map Layer 


Classification 


Name 


MapID# 


Acreage 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Fenholloway River 


5 


212.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Hampton Lake 


6 


816.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Lake Altho 


7 


548.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt. Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Lake Crosby 


8 


534.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt. Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Lake Rowell 


9 


357.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Lake Sampson 


10 


2,013.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Lake Santa Fe 


11 


4,211.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Little Santa Fe Lake 


12 


1,096.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


New River 


13 


182.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt. Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Olustee Creek 


14 


121.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Santa Fe River 


15 


836.40 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Steinhatchee River 


16 


170.00 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Suwannee River 


17 


3,764£0 


Plan. & Resource Mgmt Areas 


Surface Water Improvement 
Management Waterbodies 


Withlacoochee River 


18 


376.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Bee Haven Bay 


1 


7,125.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


California Swamp 


2 


21,810.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Dixie County Coastal Fresh 
Water Wetlands 


3 


155,633.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Fowlers Prairie 


92 


179.29 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Gum Root Swamp 


4 


1,448.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Hixtown Swamp 


5 


10,289.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Lake Altho Swamp 


6 


1,405.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Lochloosa Forest 


7 


27,437.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Mallory Swamp 


8 


210,396.00 



IV-5 
amended August 28, 1997 



TABLE 4.1, Cont'd. 
NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 






Map Layer 


Classification 


Name 


MapID# 


Acreage 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Osceola National Forest/Pinhook 
Swamp 


9 


— 184,347.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Paynes Prairie State Preserve 


10 


1U04.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


San Pedro Bay 


11 


305379.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Santa Fe Swamp 


12 


5,567.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Spring Warrior Swamp 


13 


16,047.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Tayior County Coastal Fresh 
Water Wetlands 


14 


67,690.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Tide Swamp 


15 


18,488.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Fresh Water Wetlands 


Wacassassa Flats 


16 


59,075.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Alligator Lake 


17 


500.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Lake Butler 


20 


436.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Lake Geneva 


91 


57.76 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Lake Sampson 


23 


2,013.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Little Lochloosa Lake 


24 


n/a 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Lake Santa Fe 


29 


4^11.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Little Santa Fe Lake 


25 


1,096.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Lochloosa Lake 


26 


5,629.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Newnans Lake 


27 


6,019.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Lakes 


Orange Lake 


28 


9,533.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Alapaha River 


30 


9,076.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Aucilla River 


31 


13,453.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Cross Creek 


32 


530.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Econfina River 


33 


11,743.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Ichetucknee River 


34 


204.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Prairie Creek 


35 


873.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


River Styx 


36 


1,772.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Santa Fe River 


37 


18,495.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Steinhatchee River 


38 


8,983.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Suwannee River 


39 


133,087.00 


Surface Water Systems 


River Corridors 


Withlacoochee River 


40 


12,072.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Alapaha Rise 


41 


1.00 



IV-6 
amended August 28, 1997 



TABLE 4.1, Cont'd. 
NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 



Map Layer 


Classification 


Name 


MapID# 


Acreage 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Allen Mill Pond 


42 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Allen Spring 


43 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Anderson Spring 


44 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Bell Spring 


45 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Branford Spring 


46 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Charles Spring 


47 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Columbia Spring 


48 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Convict Spring 


49 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Copper Spring 


50 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Devil's Eye Spring 


51 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Ellaville Spring 


52 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Falmouth Spring 


53 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Fletcher Spring 


54 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Ginnie Spring 


55 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Guaranto Spring 


56 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Hart Spring 


57 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Holton Spring 


58 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Homsby Spring 


59 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Ichetucknee Spring 


60 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Jamison Spring 


61 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Jonathan Spring 


62 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


July Spring 


63 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Lilly Spring 


64 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Little Copper Spring 


65 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Little River Spring 


66 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Lumbercamp Spring 


67 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Mearson Spring 


68 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Morgan's Spring 


69 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Northbank Spring 


70 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Otter Spring 


71 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Owens Spring 


72 


1.00 



s\ 



IV-7 
amended August 28, 1997 



TABLE 4.1, Cont'd. 
NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 



Map Layer 


Classification 


Name 


MapID# 


Acreage 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Peacock Springs 


73 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Pleasant Grove Spring 


74 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Poe Spring 


75 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Rock Bluff Spring 


76 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Running Spring 


77 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Ruth Spring 


78 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Santa Fe Blue Spring 


79 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Steinhatchee Spring 


80 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Sun Spring 


81 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Suwanacoochee Spring 


82 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Suwannee Spring 


83 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Suwannee Blue Spring 


84 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Telford Spring 


85 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Troy Spring 


86 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Turtle Spring 


87 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Waldo Spring 


88 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


White Spring 


89 


1.00 


Surface Water Systems 


Springs 


Withlacoochee Blue Spring 


90 


1.00 



Source: North Central Regional Planning Council, December, 1995. 

'Includes listed species habitat as described in Appendix E. 

n/a = Not Applicable. An identification number is not provided as the natural resource is either located beyond the jurisdiction of the region, covers 
the entire region, or is adequately identified on the associated map without the need of a map identification number. Acreage for Little Lochloosa Lake 
is included in Lochloosa Lake acreage 

n/m = Not Mapped. 

COASTAL AND MARINE RESOURCES 

The region's coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico extends approximately 80 miles from the Aucilla River, 
separating Taylor and Jefferson Counties, south to the Suwannee River which forms the boundary between 
Dixie and Levy counties. The environmental quality of the Gulf coast in Dixie and Taylor counties is generally 
excellent with few problems of regional significance. Salt marsh, broken only by rivers and their estuaries 
as well as a very few areas of beach, extends nearly the entire length of the coastline of Dixie and Taylor 
counties. Seaward of the salt marsh are the Big Bend Seagrass Beds. The seagrass beds provide an attractive 
environment for many commercially valuable fish and invertebrates. The Suwannee River is the largest coastal 
river in the region and forms a large estuary which supports large, commercially-viable, oyster beds. 



IV-8 
amended August 28, 1997 



The salt marsh, estuaries, coastal fresh water wetlands, as well as the Gulf itself all interact to 
provide fish and wildlife species with the elements required for their propagation, growth, and 
survival. 62 Identified coastal and marine natural resources of regional significance are the Big Bend 
Salt Marsh, the Big Bend Seagrass Beds, and the Florida Middle Ground. 

BIG BEND SALT MARSH - 

Nearly the entire length of the Dixie and Taylor county coastline consists of salt marsh. The Big 
Bend Salt Marsh averages between one-half and one mile in width while penetrating several miles 
inland in some places, most notably at Shired Island and Horseshoe Cove where waters from the 
Suwannee River and California Swamp enter the Gulf. 

Nutrients from the land and sea combine in the salt marsh to produce more biomass than some of 
the most intensively managed farms. It is a rich breeding ground for plant and animal life and is a 
primary nursery for commercially-valuable fish. Spotted sea trout, mullet, redfish and others spend 
much of their lives in the salt marsh. In addition, crabs, oysters, clams, shrimp, and other Gulf 
marine life depend on the salt marsh for food, protection, and propagation. 

Other animal species found in the salt marsh include birds such as rails, egrets, gulls, terns, and 
seaside sparrows, all of which depend upon the salt marsh for food. The bald eagle breeds in several 
areas of salt marsh habitat. Besides the bald eagle, other listed species found in the Big Bend Salt 
Marsh include the diamond-back terrapin, salt marsh snake, mink, otter, and raccoon. 

The salt marsh is dependent for its existence upon an unrestricted flow of fresh water and sediments 
from coastal estuaries and sheet-flow runoff from fresh water coastal wetiands. Sand is an important 
ingredient in wetland building as it provides a stable platform in shallow water areas for marsh plant 
communities to develop. Once the flow of sand to the marsh is shut off, the forces of erosion and 
submergence take over. 

BIG BEND SEAGRASS BEDS 

Three marine leagues seaward of land's end lies the limits of the jurisdiction of the state. 63 The area 
between land's end and the state's jurisdictional limit consists of salt marsh, oyster bars, as well as 
part of the Big Bend Seagrass Beds, which extend approximately 30 miles westward from land's end 
into the Gulf of Mexico to depths of 33 feet. 64 The seagrasses are comprised predominantly of 
Thalassia testudinum, Halodule wrightii, Syringodium filiforme, and Halophilla eugolmannii. 



« 



Coastal fresh water wetlands are addressed under Surface Water Systems, beginning on page IV-28. 

"Chapter 258.395, Florida Statutes . 

U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Proposed 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf 
Oil and Gas Leasing Program. January 1987 - December 1991 Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Vol. 2, 
(1968), pp. IV.B.6.-31 and 32. 

IV-9 
amended August 28, 1997 



Similar to the salt marsh, the seagrass beds are an important community in terms of basic 
productivity. They provide habitat for many species of commercially- valuable invertebrate and fish. 
Submerged grass beds supply food to grazing animals, provide nutrients to the water, add oxygen, 
and stabilize sediments on the sea floor. The Big Bend Seagrass Beds are designated as both a State 
Aquatic Preserve and an Outstanding Florida Water. The beds are part of the second-largest area 
of continuous seagrasses in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. — 

The region has several small but growing coastal communities where development could, if not 
properly managed, adversely affect coastal resources. These include the town of Horseshoe Beach 
and the unincorporated communities of Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Keaton Beach, Cedar Island, Dekle 
Beach, and Adams Beach. Population growth in coastal communities is likely to increase demand 
for access to coastal areas and resources. 

Seagrass beds and coastal marshes can be adversely affected by channel dredging and associated 
spoils. Spoil deposition as well as the dredging process can deposit bottom muds on oyster beds and 
seagrass beds, causing their death through suffocation. Two areas of particular concern are the 
Keaton Beach-Cedar Island Channel near the mouth of Blue Creek and the Alligator Pass-Shark 
Channel at the mouth of the Suwannee River. The estuary at the mouth of the Suwannee provides 
a very important summer feeding and resting habitat for the endangered West Indian manatee. As 
a result, dredging activities have been confined to maintenance of existing channels only in West 
Pass. 

Adverse environmental impacts could result from oil and natural gas well drilling off the coast of 
Dixie and Taylor counties. Although a 30-mile wide federal coastal buffer exists seaward of the 
coastline in which oil and natural gas well drilling is prohibited, oil spills could seriously threaten 
the health of the seagrass beds, salt marsh, and Gulf fishery, especially if the federal government 
removed the coastal buffer. 

Drilling activities have the potential for very high impacts on the seagrass beds. 65 Live bottoms, 
oyster beds, and seagrass beds may be at risk from drilling muds and cuttings discharge during 
drilling operations. Muds and cuttings deposited on top of coral, oysters, and seagrass can deprive 
these species of oxygen, causing them to suffocate. In addition, the ecology of the salt marsh may 
be severely disrupted by oil spills reaching such areas. A major spill could devastate large areas of 
shallow (less than 20 feet in depth) seagrass communities and salt marsh, which, in turn, could 
severely damage fish and shellfish populations important to both commercial and recreational 
fishermen. 66 



65 Proposed 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program January 1987- December 1991 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement , pg. IV. B. 6.-19. 



66 Ibid..vol. 2. p. IV.B.6.-18. 



IV-10 
amended August 28, 1997 



A study of the sensitivity of Florida's coastal environment to spilled oil corroborates these concerns. 
The study ranked the region's coastline as among the most environmentally sensitive in the state. 67 
Fish and benthic invertebrate species found along the north central Florida coast which are 
vulnerable to oil spills include the eastern blue oyster, blue crab, stone crab, bay scallop, pink 
shrimp, white shrimp, rock shrimp, spotted sea trout, red drum, mullet, sheepshead, Atlantic 
sturgeon, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spotfish, and pompano. * — 

FLORIDA MIDDLE GROUND 

The Florida Middle Ground is found between 47 and 66 miles southwest of the mouth of the 
Steinhatchee River in water depths of up to 125 feet. It consists of approximately 132,000 acres of 
coral reefs similar to those found in the Caribbean and represents the northernmost extent of coral 
reefs in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Live bottom areas such as the Florida Middle Ground are of 
concern because of their biological productivity and their use as fish habitats. 68 The Florida Middle 
Ground is probably the best known and most biologically developed of the live bottom areas of the 
Gulf and has been designated as a Habitat Area of Particular Concern by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery 
Management Council. 

Its considerable distance from shore and moderating currents attract fish normally found in the 
Caribbean-west Indies. The middle ground's transparent waters, shallow reef crests, irregular bottom 
topography, well-defined currents, and carbonate sediments attract many reef fishes which are either 
rare or absent at other west Florida shelf reefs. The dominant stony corals of the middle ground 
include Madracis decactis, Porites divaricata, Dichochocoencia stellaris, and Dichochcenia stokesii. 
Octocorals, a minor component of other Gulf reefs, are prominent. Dominant forms include Muricea 
elongata (orange Muricea), Muricea laxa (dekucate Muricea), Eunicea calyculata (warty Eunicea), 
and Plexaura flexuosa (sea rod). 

Sport fishermen and recreational divers frequent the area despite its distance from the coast. 
Commercial fishermen also frequent the middle grounds since it is inhabited by red snapper and 
grouper. Although recognized by the regional plan as a natural resource of regional significance, the 
Florida Middle Ground is not mapped due to its location beyond the state's jurisdiction. Despite its 
location, the Council has commented, and will likely continue to comment, on environmental impact 
statements produced for proposed activities which could affect the Florida Middle Ground. 



The Sensitivity of Coastal Environments and Wildlife to Spilled Oil in the North-Central Florida Region. 
Research Planning Institute, Inc., Columbia, S.C., 1984. 

Proposed 5- Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. January 1987 - December 1991 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement , pp. IV. B. 6.-3 1 and 32. 

IV- 11 
amended August 28, 1997 



GROUND WATER RESOURCES 

Ground water natural resources of regional significance consist of the Floridan Aquifer, sinks with direct 
connection to the Floridan Aquifer, stream-to-sink watersheds, and high recharge areas of the Floridan Aquifer. 

THE FLORIDAN AQUTFER 

Three different aquifers underlie north central Florida, a surficial water table aquifer, an intermediate artesian 
aquifer, and the Floridan Aquifer. Of the three, only the Floridan Aquifer is recognized in the regional plan 
as a natural resource of regional significance. The Floridan Aquifer is one of the largest and most productive 
fresh water aquifers in the world and is the region's primary source of potable water. 

Underground limestone formations up to 5,000 feet thick exist within the region. However, the thickness of 
the permeable portion of the aquifer varies from approximately 600 to 1,700 feet The potable portion of the 
aquifer increases in thickness from 250 feet near the coast to 1,250 feet in the northern portions of the region. 69 

The Floridan Aquifer can be divided into three classes. In Class I, the Floridan Aquifer is unconfined and is 
the sole source for ground water supplies. In Class II, which may be thought of as a transitional area, a semi- 
artesian secondary system or water table aquifer overlays a semi-confined Floridan. In Class IE, the Floridan 
Aquifer is confined. A water table aquifer and intermediate artesian aquifers overlay the Floridan. The aquifer 
ranges from Class HI in the northeastern portion of the region where the aquifer is overlain by the Hawthorne 
Formation, through Class II which is roughly located in areas identified as High Recharge Areas of the 
Floridan Aquifer on the Ground Water Resources map, to Class I near the coastline. Generally, ground water 
within the Floridan Aquifer moves from Class III to Class I areas (northeast to southwest). 

WATER QUALITY OF THE FLORIDAN AQUD7ER 

Generally, the water quality of that portion of the Floridan Aquifer which underlies north central Florida is 
excellent. As noted in the Suwannee River Water Management District Water Management Plan, ground 
water contamination is local in nature, consisting of point source discharges, underground storage tanks, 
landfills, storm water drainage wells, direct recharge from untreated storm water, and direct recharge from 
untreated intensive agricultural runoff. The Floridan Aquifer is almost entirely contained within a bed of 
limestone. Rainfall, surface water, and surficial aquifer water is slightly acidic. As a result, the carbonate rock 
of the Floridan Aquifer is slowly dissolving. The dissolved rock appears as dissolved particles in the ground 
water. Consequently, water from the Floridan Aquifer is relatively high in specific conductivity, alkalinity, 
magnesium, and calcium. 70 



69 Water Management Plan . Suwannee River Water Management District, Live Oak, FL, August 8, 1994, 



Review Draft, pp. 34-35. 



70 Draft Water Management Plan . Live Oak, FL, August 8, 1994, pg. 35. 

IV-12 
amended August 28, 1997 



WATER QUANTITY OF THE FLORID AN AQUIFER 

Regional demand for potable water from the Floridan Aquifer is increasing as shown in Table 4.2. 
Between 1985 and 1990, north central Florida ground water withdrawals increased from 208.6 
million gallons per day (mgd) in 1985 to 242.1 mgd in 1990. 71 The region's 16.1 percent increase 
in ground water withdrawal was greater than the 14.8 percent ground water withdrawal increase 
statewide for this period. Additionally, the region's 28.0 percent increase in total water consumption 
was greater than the statewide rate of increase of 4.9 percent for this period. 

TABLE 4. 2 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA WATER WITHDRAWAL BY WITHDRAWAL TYPE 

PERCENTAGE CHANGE, 1985-90 





Total 


Withdrawal Source 






Withdrawal 


Type 








Ground 


Surface 


Residential 


Institutional 










Area 


Withdrawal 


Water 


Water 


Domestic 


Commercial 


Industrial 


Utility 


Other 


Remainder* 


Alachua 


2.0 


1.4 


800.0 


(0.3) 


31.1 


(45.3) 


3,185.7 


(31.3) 


(2.3) 


Bradford 


(2.5) 


(3.1) 


0.0 


103.8 


215.4 


(7.4) 


3,700.0 


1,100.0 


(99.5) 


Columbia 


15.4 


13.7 


360.0 


45.0 


(28.7) 


210.0 


1,000.0 


0.0 


7.4 


Dixie 


39.4 


44.6 


(100.0) 


(8-8) 


50.0 


100.0 


300.0 


0.0 


45.9 


Gilchrist 


104.4 


104.4 


0.0 


(43.3) 


33.3 


0.0 


100.0 


0.0 


112.8 


Hamilton 


16.6 


16.6 


0.0 


21.6 


214.3 


(45.5) 


75.0 


0.0 


16.4 


Lafayette 


27.3 


24.5 


107.7 


(41.7) 


200.0 


600.0 


0.0 


0.0 


27.5 


Madison 


24.3 


19.8 


0.0 


(23.3) 


(13.3) 


150.0 


175.0 


0.0 


25.1 


Suwannee 


61.3 


51.6 


64.4 


(11.7) 


75.0 


(6.2) 


42.9 


0.0 


62.2 


Taylor 


1.0 


1.8 


(21.5) 


(34.2) 


37.5 


50.0 


57.1 


0.0 


1.4 


Union 


139.3 


107.1 


0.0 


(50.0) 


400.0 


133.3 


400.0 


0.0 


178.0 


Region 


28.0 


16.1 


64.2 


0.9 


36.6 


(3.9) 


847.2 


6.1 


29.5 


Florida 


4.9 


14.8 


1.8 


4.4 


12.5 


28.5 


204.8 


24.3 


3.9 



'Includes, but is not limited to, agricultural withdrawals. 

Source: 1989 & 1994 Florida Statistical Abstract, tables 8.41 & 8.42. 



71i 



University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, 1989 & 1994 Florida Statistical 
Abstract. Gainesville, Fl., Table 8.41. 



IV- 13 
amended August 28, 1997 



Table 4.3 indicates that north central Florida has a much higher reliance on ground water than the rest 
of the state. In 1990, 68.2 percent of all water withdrawn for human use came from ground water 
sources, compared with 26.3 percent statewide. Table 4.3 also reveals that north central Florida water 
consumption by type of user is similar to statewide usage. The region's reliance on groundwater sources 
is even higher than depicted in Table 4.3 as this table includes the one-time pass-through use of river 
water for cooling Florida Power Corporation's Suwannee River electrical generation station. When the 
water use of this plant is excluded, groundwater makes up 97.0 percent of the region's remaining water 
withdrawals. 72 

TABLE 4.3 



PERCENT OF NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA WATER WITHDRAWAL BY 

WITHDRAWAL TYPE, 1990 





Total 


Withdrawal Source 


Withdrawal Type 




Ground 


Surface 


Residential 


Institutional 










Area 


Withdrawal 


Water 


Water 


Domestic 


Commercial 


Industrial 


Utility 


Other 


Remainder* 


Alachua 


100.0 


99.3 


0.7 


28.1 


7.7 


3.1 


4.4 


0.4 


56.3 


Bradford 


100.0 


99.3 


0.7 


817.0 


9.1 


2.8 


4.2 


1.3 


0.4 


Columbia 


100.0 


98.0 


2.0 


10.2 


5.4 


8.2 


1.9 


0.0 


74.3 


Dixie 


100.0 


100.0 


0.0 


8.9 


1.0 


0.7 


0.7 


0.0 


88.8 


Gilchrist 


100.0 


100.0 


0.0 


1.5 


0.4 


0.3 


0.2 


0.1 


97.6 


HamiltOD 


100.0 


100.0 


0.0 


1.2 


0.4 


0.1 


0.1 


0.0 


98.1 


Lafayette 


100.0 


94.4 


5.6 


0.7 


0.3 


0.7 


0.1 


0.0 


98.1 


Madison 


100.0 


96.4 


3.6 


6.2 


3.5 


8.0 


1.5 


0.0 


80.8 


Suwannee 


100.0 


22.8 


77.2 


0.6 


0.2 


0.1 


0.1 


0.0 


99.0 


Taylor 


100.0 


97.5 


2.5 


1.4 


0.4 


0.7 


0.2 


0.0 


97.2 


Union 


100.0 


86.5 


13.5 


4.2 


5.9 


1.4 


1.0 


0.0 


87.5 


Region 


100.0 


68.2 


31.8 


6.0 


1.9 


1.2 


1.0 


0.0 


89.9 


Florida 


100.0 


26.3 


73.7 


7.0 


1.6 


1.0 


1.0 


0.0 


89.2 



'Includes, but is not limited to, agricultural withdrawals. 

Source: 1989 & 1994 Florida Statistical Abstract tables 8.41 & 8.42. 



^U.S. Geological Survey, Source. Use, and Disposition of Water in Florida. 1980 . WRI 82-4090; Water 
Withdrawals. Use and Trends in Florida. 1990 : and Suwannee River Water Management District, unpublished data, 
1996. 



1V-14 
amended August 28, 1997 



v Most of the water used in the region is for commercial/industrial and power generation uses. 

However, these figures include water used for once-through cooling at the power plant, and water 
that is recycled several times at the PCS, Inc. phosphate plant in Hamilton county. The largest 
industrial user of water in the region is the Buckeye, Florida pulp mill in Taylor County with a 1990 
average withdrawal of 46 million gallons per day. 73 

Agricultural use accounts for approximately 23.0 percent of the region's total 1990 water use, which 
is slightly higher than the statewide percentage of 21.0. Agricultural water uses are not routinely 
reported as agricultural water use metering is not required in north central Florida. Agricultural uses 
are derived by the water management districts from irrigated crop acreage estimates, seasonal 
climatic conditions, and other available data. 74 

Potable water demands will increase in direct proportion to the region's population increase. Other 
water uses are difficult to project. Farms in the region are declining overall in size and number, but 
are projected to maintain approximately the same rate of water usage as different crops and animal 
husbandry operations are brought into the region. Commercial and industrial water consumption, 
currently comprised of a relatively few large users in the region, could change significantly with just 
one high-consumption firm locating in the region. 

Sufficient potable supplies are expected to be available to meet the region's present and projected 
requirements provided there is proper planning and careful management of the water supply. North 
central Florida must retain adequate water reserves for future water requirements, including the 
I requirements of a growing population as well as north central Florida's natural systems and native 
species. Water from the Floridan Aquifer is required for the region's springs and rivers to flow, for 
wetlands to remain wet, and for lakes to remain lakes. The region's vegetation and wildlife are 
dependent upon the water found within rivers, springs, and wetlands for their survival. However, 
little is known about the relationships between groundwater and surfacewater, and the surface water 
needs of native species. Additional information is needed regarding these relationships and needs. 

THE IMPACT OF DEVELOPMENT ON THE FLORIDAN AQUIFER 

Land use decisions and land management practices, particularly within high recharge areas and 
stream-to-sink watersheds, can have direct impacts upon both the quality and quantity of water 
contained within the Floridan Aquifer. Local government comprehensive plans and water 
management district surface water permitting regulations should ensure that adverse impacts 
resulting from development which does occur within high recharge areas and stream-to-sink 
watersheds are minimized. 



Suwannee River Water Management District, 1996. 
Suwannee River Water Management District, 1996. 



IV- 15 
amended August 28, 1997 



Statewide storm water management requirements began in 1982 with Chapter 17-25, Florida 
Administrative Code (F.A.C.), rule requiring stormwater treatment. In 1983, the St. Johns River 
Water Management District adopted Chapter 40C-4, F.A.C., for regulation of stormwater quantity. 
In 1986 both St. Johns and Suwannee River Water Management Districts adopted rules for 
stormwater quality (40C-42 and 40B-4, F.A.C., respectively), which replaced Chapter 17-25, 
F.A.C., in their respective jurisdictions. Prior to the enactment of these rules, there were~no uniform 
stormwater management guidelines. Development occurring in some north central Florida local 
governments prior to 1982 faced no storm water management requirements whatsoever. This created 
a situation whereby stormwater in many of the region's older communities, contaminated with 
pollutants such as oil, pesticide, and fertilizer residues, flows untreated into the Floridan Aquifer 
through high recharge areas and stream-to-sink recharge areas. Inadequately treated stormwater also 
pollutes several surface waters identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

AREAS OF HIGH RECHARGE POTENTIAL TO THE FLORIDAN AQUIFER 

The Floridan Aquifer is replenished by rainfall in areas of high recharge. Certain areas of the region, 
due to the characteristics of the underlying soils, geology, and depth to the Floridan Aquifer, 
recharge more ground water to the Floridan Aquifer faster than other areas. Areas of potential high 
recharge found within the region, as identified by the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water 
management districts, are recognized by the regional plan as natural resources of regional 
significance. 75 

Generally, Areas of High Recharge Potential to the Floridan Aquifer run northwest-southeast band 
that is approximately 38 miles wide. High aquifer recharge areas occur in Alachua, Columbia, Dixie 
Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, and Madison counties. The regional plan identifies 27 separate high 
recharge areas as natural resources of regional significance. The 27 areas total 1,066,051 acres, or 
23.0 percent of the entire region. The largest recharge area comprises 231,449 acres while the 
smallest is 141 acres. 

STREAM-TO-SINK WATERSHEDS 

Stream-to-sink watersheds are drainage basins containing one or more sinkholes which, in some 
cases, have direct connection to the Floridan Aquifer. In a stream-to-sink watershed, surface water 
runoff usually finds its way to streams that, in turn, flow into a sinkhole. Identification and 
management of these areas is necessary to prevent chemicals, pollutants, and fertilizers from finding 
direct or near-direct access to the drinking water supply through surface water runoff. The regional 



The water management districts used different methods to determine areas of high recharge, resulting in 
apparent inconsistencies between high aquifer recharge areas near district boundaries. This is readily apparent in 
Alachua County where water management district boundaries split the county. The two districts have reached an 
agreement by which the St. Johns River Water Management District will produce a recharge map for the entire 
county which will be adopted by the Suwannee River Water Management District. Additionally, the Suwannee 
River Water Management District has contracted with the U.S. Geological Survey to estimate recharge rates for the 
entire district. Until the Suwannee River Water Management District remaps its high recharge areas, the Council is 
using the best available information from the districts to map high recharge areas. 

IV-16 
amended August 28, 1997 



♦ plan recognizes six stream-to-sink watersheds as natural resources of regional significance. These 
are Norton Creek in Madison County, Alapaha River in Hamilton County, Little River in Suwannee 
County, Falling Creek in northwest Columbia County, the Cannon Creek/Rose Creek/Price Creek 
area in southern Columbia County, and Rocky Creek in Alachua County. 

ICHETUCKNEE TRACE - 

Ichetucknee Trace is located immediately north of Ichetucknee Springs State Park. The trace 
represents an ancient river corridor of the Ichetucknee River which is now underground. The waters 
of this ancient underground river re-emerge in the springs contained in Ichetucknee Springs State 
Park. Topographic analysis and recent ink dye tracing studies indicate a well-defined and integrated 
drainage system beneath the Ichetucknee Trace and the headwater springs of Ichetucknee Springs 
State Park. The trace itself represents an area of high karst activity, approximately one-mile in width 
on both sides of the ancient stream bank from Ichetucknee Springs State Park northward to the 
corridor's intersection with the 75-foot elevation contour. The entire trace area is approximately 
13 miles in length. The northern portions of the trace include Rose and Clay Hole creeks. The trace 
area immediately north of the park is locally referred to as "Swiss cheese" due to the many sinkholes 
and chimneys located in the area. The entire Ichetucknee Trace abounds with sinkholes, ancient 
springs, isolated wetlands, and other solution features. Much of the trace is heavily forested. 

Recent investigations by the University of Florida Geology Department have confirmed the direct 
connectivity of Rose Creek to the Ichetucknee Springs, as well as the connectivity of at least one 
sinkhole in the trace lying between Rose Creek sink and the springs. Septic tanks associated with 
urban development as well as agricultural activities are a special concern regarding the impact on 
water quality of the underground flows and ultimately on the surface water quality of the headwater 
springs located in Ichetucknee River State Park. 

SINKS 

Besides stream-to-sink watersheds and the sinks which drain them, four additional sinks and one 
sink group are identified as natural resources of regional significance. These include O'leno Sink 
in O'leno State Park, Devil's Millhopper in Devil's Millhopper State Geologic Site, Alachua Sink 
in Paynes Prairie State Preserve, Brooks Sink in Bradford County, and the Aucilla River Sinks in 
Taylor County. Three of these natural resources of regional significance are discussed in detail 
below. 

AUCILLA RIVER SINKS 

Aucilla River Sinks comprise a four-mile section of the Aucilla River sometimes referred to as the 
"natural bridge" or "sink area" where the river disappears and rises in many sinkholes. This unique 
geological feature combined with a variety of wildlife in a diverse forest setting combine to make 
the sinks area of the Aucilla River a natural resource of regional significance. 

*\ 

IV- 17 
amended August 28, 1997 



The entire sink area encompasses some 2,000 acres along the river's trace in Taylor and Jefferson 
Counties. The four-mile river segment contains at least 50 to 60 sinkholes. 76 Some are simply 
limestone chimneys only a few feet in diameter; many are several hundred feet across with an 
elongated shape. Many sinks have a distinct flowing current. 

The origin of these sinkholes is likely due to a ceiling collapse of an underground limestone river 
channel. Throughout the area, limestone banks are evident along the borders of all the sinks, usually 
forming banks from three to ten feet above the water surface. During periods of high rainfall the 
entire area may flood with the river as well as the sinkholes overflowing their banks. 

The area along the river trace is predominantly a hardwood hammock. The limestone formation near 
the surface effectively prohibits most pine tree growth along the immediate river trace area. Much 
of the surrounding forest is overgrown with a dense understory, but paths and trails are frequent and 
provide access to the sinks. The area is not well used as few people know of its existence. 
Approximately two-thirds of the area was recently purchased by the State of Florida through the 
Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) program. 

BROOKS SINK 

Brooks Sink is located within a privately-owned pine forest approximately four miles east of the 
Town of Brooker in Bradford County. The natural character of the sink is similar to Devil's 
Millhopper. It is located in a small, well-maintained area of natural vegetation within an eight square 
mile area of planted pine forest. The site is closed to the public. Although in the midst of an 
intensively managed pine forest, the immediate surroundings of the sink, approximately ten acres, 
have not been harvested. 

The value of Brooks Sink lies primarily in its significance as a site for geologic study. The area is 
known for its excellent exposures of soil and rock strata, particularly of the Hawthorne Formation. 
The relatively small natural forest surrounding the sink contributes to the aesthetic appeal of the site. 

The sink itself has almost sheer limestone banks lined with large oak and elm trees which 
occasionally fall into the sink. The walls are covered with a variety of mosses and ferns, and only 
on its south side do the banks have sufficient slope for trees and shrubs to grow partially into the 
basin. The sink is approximately 85 feet deep and 400 feet in diameter. A deep gully has been 
eroded into the southeast side of the sink draining some 600 acres of planted pines northeast of the 
sink. This channel has eroded deeply into the sides of the sink. 

Almost every common pine species occurs here including slash, longleaf, and loblolly pine, as well 
as large oak, elm, and gum trees. The planted pine forest surrounding the sink area consists 
primarily of loblolly pines in various stages of maturity. The retention of natural vegetation around 
the sink greatly minimizes erosion. Common wildlife in the area include wild pig, deer, and rabbit. 



t 



76 North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Significant Natural Areas in Planning District Three. 
Gainesville, FL, 1977, pg. 41. 

IV-18 
amended August 28, 1997 



% 



A variety of panfish have been caught in the sink but no other aquatic species have yet been 
identified. 



DEVIL'S MILLHOPPER STATE GEOLOGIC SITE 

The Devil's Millhopper is a large sinkhole located north of Gainesville in Alachua Gounty. The 
bowl-shaped sink, one of the largest in the state, measures 500 feet across and approximately 120 
feet deep. Currently owned and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 
Division of Recreation and Parks, the Devil's Millhopper was purchased by the state in 1972. 

The sinkhole displays a gradation of micro-ecosystems, each with its own biotic community. In 
addition to its unique ecological features, the exposed slopes of the sinkhole reveal a slice of 
Florida's fossil and geologic record. Although located in an area of rapid residential development, 
continued state ownership should buffer most adverse impacts caused by development. 

NATURAL SYSTEMS 

Natural systems identified by the regional plan as natural resources of regional significance consist 
of listed species found in north central Florida. It is the intent of this plan to protect both listed 
species. It is also the intent of this plan to protect the habitat of listed species as described in a book 
series entitled Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 77 

Listed species which occur within north central Florida, as identified by the Florida Natural Areas 
Inventory (FNAI) Element Occurrence Database, are as follows: 



77 Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals, Rare and Endangered 
Biota of Florida . Volumes 1-5, University Presses of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 1994. See 
l \ Appendix E. 



IV- 19 
amended August 28, 1997 



TABLE 4.4 

STATE AND FEDERALLY LISTED SPECIES KNOWN TO OCCUR IN THE NORTH 
CENTRAL FLORIDA REGION IDENTIFIED IN THE FNAI ELEMENT OCCURENCE 

DATABASE 



Common Name(s) 


Scientific Name 


Common Name(s) 


Scientific Name 


Alligator Snapping Turtle 


Macrolemys temmincki 






American Alligator 


Alligator 


Non-crested Coco, A Wild 


Pteroglossaspis 




mississippiensis 


Coco 


ecristata 


Atlantic Sturgeon 


Acipenser oxyrhynchus 


Pinewood Dainties, Florida 


Phyllanthus 






Leaf Flower 


liebmanianus 


Autumn Coralroot 


Corallorhiza 
odontorhiza 






Bald Eagle, Southern 


Haliaeetus 


Piping Plover 


Charadrius melodus 


Bald Eagle 


leucocephalus 






Bartram's Ixia 


Sphenostigma 
coelistina 


Pondspice 


Litsea aestivalis 


Brown Pellican, Eastern 


Pelecanus occidentalis 


Poppy Mallow, Woods Poppy 


Callirhoe papaver 


Brown Pellican 




Mallow 




Burrowing Owl, Florida 


Speotyto cunicularia 


Red-cockaded woodpecker 


Picoides borealis 


Burrowing Owl 








Catesby's lily, Southern 


Lillium catesbaei 


Sims Sink Crayfish, Red-Eyed 


Procambarus erythrops 


Red Lily 




Cave Crayfish, Santa Fe Cave 
Crayfish 




Dwarf Spleenwort 


Asplenium pumilum 


Sherman's fox squirrel 


Sciurus niger shermani 


Eastern Indigo Snake 


Drymarchon corais 
couperi 


Short-tailed Snake 


Stilosoma extenuatum 


Florida Corkwood, 


Leimeria floridana 


Single-sorus Spleenwort, San 


Asplemium monanthes 


Corkwood 




Felasco Spleenwort 








Sinkhole Fem 


Blechnum occidntale 


Florida Black Bear" 


Ursus americanus 
floridanus 


Snowy Egret 


Egretta thula 






Southern Lip Fern 


Cheilanthes 
microphylla 


Florida Milkweed, 


Matelea floridana 


Southeastern American 


Falco sparverius paulus 


Florida Spiny Pod 




Kestrel 




Florida Mouse 


Podomys floridanus 


Squirrel Chimney Cave 


Palaemonetes 






Shrimp 


cummingi 



IV-20 
amended August 28, 1997 



*• 



\ 



Common Name(s) 


Scientific Name 


Common Name(s) 


Scientific Name 


Florida Pine Snake 


Pituophis melanoleucus 
mugitus 


Suwannee Bass 


Micropterus notius 


Florida Sandhill Crane 


Grus canadensis 


Suwannee Cooter, River 


Psuedemys concinna 




pratensis 


Cooter 


SuwannienStS 


Florida Scrub-jay 


Aphelocoma 
coerulescens 


Sweet Shrub 


Calycanthus floridus 


Florida Willow 


Salix floridana 


Tricolored Heron 


Egretta tricolor 


Gopher Frog 


Rana capito 


Water Sundew, Spoon-leaved 
Sundew 


Drosera intermedia 


Gopher tortoise 


Gopherus polyphemus 


White Ibis 


Eudocimus albus 


Green Adder' s-mouth 


Malaxis unifolia 






Limpkin 


Aramus guarauna 


Wood Stork 


Mycteria americana 


Little Blue Heron 


Egretta caerulea 







"Except in Columbia County 

Source: Florida Natural Areas Inventory, January 1997. 

Locations of these species have been mapped in this plan (see page C-3). In addition to listed species 
identified in the FNAI database, the following listed species are known by the Florida Game and 
Fresh Water Fish Commission to exist in the region. The location of these species has not been 
mapped by this regional plan. 

TABLE 4.5 
ADDITIONAL LISTED NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA LISTED SPECffiS 
IDENTD7IED BY THE FLORIDA GAME AND FRESH WATER FISH COMMISSION 



Common Name 


Scientific Name 


Common Name 


Scientific Name 


American Oystercatcher 


Haematopus palliatus 


Marian's Marsh Wren 


Cistothorus palustris 
marianae 


Arctic Peregrine Falcon 


Falco peregrinus tundrius 


Scott's Seaside Sparrow 


Ammodramus maritimus 
pininsulae 


Atlantic Ridley Turtle 


Lepidochelys kempi 


Wakulla Seaside Sparrow 


Ammodramus maritimus 
junciolus 


Black Skimmer 


Rynchops niger 


West Indian Manatee 


Trichechus manatus 


Least Tern 


Sterna antillarum 







I) 



Source: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, April 1997. 



IV-21 

amended August 28, 1997 



PLANNING AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AREAS 

Planning and Resource Management Areas can more accurately be thought of as natural resource 
designations rather than the mapping of natural resources per se. Planning and Resource 
Management Areas recognized by the regional plan as natural resources of regional significance 
include privately- and publicly-owned conservation and resource-based recreation lands,-and Surface 
Water Improvement Management waterbodies. 

SURFACE WATER IMPROVEMENT MANAGEMENT WATERBODIES 

The Surface Water Improvement Management (SWIM) Act was passed into law by the Florida 
Legislature, effective July 1, 1987. The purpose of the act is to restore and/or protect the quality of 
surface waters in the state and to provide an on-going planning and coordination mechanism to 
maintain surface water quality. The Legislature delegated the responsibility for evaluating, 
prioritizing, and developing management plans to the state's water management districts in 
cooperation with other state agencies and local governments. 

The Suwannee River Water Management District has identified 1 8 north central Florida waterbodies 
as priority waters to be addressed through SWIM. No north central Florida waterbodies are included 
in the St. Johns River Water Management District SWIM priority list. The Suwannee River Water 
Management District has developed management plans for all 18 north central Florida waterbodies. 
The initial SWIM plans focus on identification of surface water quality problems, monitoring surface 
water quality trends, and promoting interagency coordination for addressing identified issues. All 
SWIM waterbodies are recognized as natural resources of regional significance and are listed in 
Table 4.1. 

PRIVATE CONSERVATION AND RESOURCE-BASED RECREATION LANDS 

Privately-owned conservation and resource-based recreation lands designated as natural resources 
of regional significance are limited to lands owned by the Nature Conservancy. The Nature 
Conservancy often works in concert with government agencies to acquire public conservation lands. 
Typically, the Nature Conservancy will acquire the property from a private owner and sell to a 
government agency. This technique was successfully used in the early 1990s to enlarge the Osceola 
National Forest. The Nature Conservancy also played an intermediary role in the state's Big Bend 
Coastal Tract acquisitions. Currently, the Nature Conservancy owns three parcels totaling 3,993 
acres in the region. Two of the parcels (3,274 acres) are adjacent to the Osceola National Forest in 
Columbia County. The remaining parcel (719 acres) is in Gilchrist County. 



IV-22 
amended August 28, 1997 



4> 



PUBLIC CONSERVATION AND RESOURCE-BASED RECREATION LANDS 

Publicly-owned lands used for conservation and resource-based recreation purposes include national 
forests, state parks and preserves, other state lands owned for conservation and resource recreation 
purposes, lands owned by water management districts, and a few county-owned properties. Mapped 
categories of publicly-owned conservation and recreation lands are Federal, State, Water 
Management District, and County. 

A number of tracts of publicly-held lands are found in north central Florida. The regional plan 
identifies 3 16,823 acres of regionally significant public lands, representing 6.7 percent of the region. 
So much north central Florida land is in public ownership that some north central Florida county 
governments oppose additional public land acquisitions due to the resultant decline in the local tax 
base. 

Every state park and preserve, and every national forest, wildlife refuge, and wilderness area has a 
management plan. The Council can, through its regional plan, provide input into the direction of 
future management plans prepared for such areas located within the region. Council input can help 
to coordinate the management plans for specific public lands with the policies of the regional plan. 
For example, recent Council emphasis on eco-tourism promotion may suggest a management plan 
place greater emphasis on recreational or environmental activities. 

Publicly-owned lands recognized by the regional plan as natural resources of regional significance 
include Austin Cary Memorial Forest, Big Shoals Tract, Big Gum Swamp National Wilderness Area, 
Big Bend Coastal Tracts, Devil's Millhopper State Geologic Site, Ichetucknee Springs State Park, 
Lower Suwannee River National Wildlife Refuge, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Osceola 
National Forest, O'leno State Park, Paynes Prairie State Preserve, Peacock Springs State Recreation 
Area, River Rise State Preserve, San Felasco Hammock State Preserve, St. Marks National Wildlife 
Refuge, Steven Foster State Folk Cultural Center, Suwannee River State Park, water management 
district lands including Lochloosa Forest, various tracts along the Suwannee River, as well as other 
holdings. Fifteen of these areas are highlighted below. 

AUSTIN CARY MEMORIAL FOREST 

Comprising 2,180 acres, Austin Cary Memorial Forest is in northeastern Alachua County 
immediately north of Gum Root Swamp, a natural resource of regional significance. The forest is 
owned by the University of Florida and managed by the university's School of Forest Resources and 
Conservation. 

BIG BEND COASTAL TRACTS 

The Big Bend Coastal Tracts consist of approximately 81,158 acres on the coast in Dixie and Taylor 
counties. The tracts were purchased under the Conservation and Recreational Lands program in 
1988 and 1990. The tracts were part of a larger acquisition intended to protect the low energy 
coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. 



IV-23 
amended August 28, 1997 



The area contains salt marsh, hydric hammock, mesic flatwoods, sandhills, upland hardwood forest, 
maritime hammock, and coastal swamp. Much of the drier sites have been converted to planted pine 
forest. The areas support excellent populations of wildlife. The tracts are adjacent to the Big Bend 
Seagrass Aquatic Preserve. Four wildlife management areas (Hickory Mound, Spring Creek, Tide 
Swamp, and Big Bend) are located within the tracts. The Big Bend Salt Marsh and Tide Swamp are 
discussed in greater detail on pages IV- 1 1 and IV-36, respectively. — 

BIG GUM SWAMP NATIONAL WILDERNESS AREA 

The Big Gum Swamp National Wilderness Area is located within the Osceola National Forest and 
is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The area comprises 13,847 acres, of which 3,374 acres 
are in Columbia County. The remainder is located in Baker County and the Northeast Florida 
Regional Planning District. National wilderness areas differ from national forest lands in that no 
economic or mechanical activity may take place in wilderness areas. The land and wildlife must 
be left in its natural state. 

COUNTY CONSERVATION AREAS 

County conservation areas designated as natural resources of regional significance consist of three 
parcels comprising 1,050.6 acres. The parcels are located in Alachua, Gilchrist, and Suwannee 
counties. The Gilchrist County property comprises 269.7 acres on the Suwannee River and includes 
Hart Springs. The Alachua County property consists of the 93.4- acre Poe Springs Park, which is 
located adjacent to the Santa Fe River and includes Poe Springs. The Suwannee County property 
consists of 687.5 acres adjacent to the Suwannee River immediately west of Suwannee Springs. The 
county leases the property to a private-sector campground operator. 

ICHETUCKNEE SPRINGS STATE PARK 

Ichetucknee Springs State Park consists of 2,150 acres along the Ichetucknee River. The park 
includes the head waters of the Ichetucknee River, which consists of a number of springs, including 
Ichetucknee Springs. The park was purchased by the state in 1970 and listed on the National 
Registry of Natural Landmarks in 1972. It is known for its clear water and is a very popular location 
for canoeing, rafting, and tubing. 

The river bank ranges from high limestone outcrops to river swamp/marsh. Sandhills dominate the 
highest elevations in the park. The sandhill community comprises 30 percent of the park and has 
well-drained soil with an open canopy. Common plants include turkey oaks, sand post oak, longleaf 
pine, bracken fern, and wiregrass. Mesic hammock constitutes 65 percent of the park area. It is 
moderately drained and has a closed canopy consisting of mixed hardwoods including southern red 
oak, laurel oak, sweetgum, flowering dogwood, and sparkleberry. The park contains a small area 
of river swamp, which is poorly drained and frequently flooded with a dense canopy. The dominant 
plants of the river swamp are red maple, sweetgum, American elm, Florida ash, and bald cypress. 
Animals common to the park include beaver, turkey, limpkin, apple snail, Suwannee bass, gulf pipe 
fish, and river otter. 



IV-24 
amended August 28, 1997 



V 



LOWER SUWANNEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 

The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge comprises approximately 47, 250 acres of coastal 
marsh, of which 26,030 acres are located in Dixie County. The remainder is in Levy County and the 
Withlacoochee Regional Planning District. Within Dixie County, the refuge starts eight miles south 
of Fanning Springs, continues southward along the Suwannee River to the unincorporated coastal 
community of Suwannee, and extends ten miles northward along the coast. 

National wildlife refuges are created by Congress for the protection of migratory waterfowl and 
endangered species. They are owned or leased by the federal government and managed by the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service. While economic activities may occur in a national wildlife refuge, the 
activity must not threaten the habitats of endangered species or migratory birds. It is common for 
selected timber harvesting or limited agricultural activities to occur in a wildlife refuge. 

OKEFENOKEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge consists of 396,000 acres, a small portion of which 
(approximately 150 acres) is located in the northeast corner of Columbia County. The bulk of the 
refuge is in Georgia. The refuge is located approximately four miles north of the Osceola National 
Forest. The Nature Conservancy is slowly purchasing land between the Osceola National Forest and 
the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in an effort to link the two federal holdings for purposes 
of wildlife preservation. 

O'LENO STATE PARK AND RIVER RISE STATE PRESERVE 

O'leno State Park and River Rise State Preserve are adjacent state land holdings encompassing 5,160 
acres along the Santa Fe River. O'leno State Park is on the Columbia County side of the river while 
River Rise State Preserve is located on the Alachua County side. The Santa Fe River enters the 
O'leno State Park at its northeast corner and proceeds in a southwesterly direction through the 
property. Similar to the Aucilla River, the Santa Fe River disappears within in an area known as the 
river sink. The river travels approximately three miles underground before reappearing in the highly 
scenic area known as the river rise. The area between river sink and river rise is known as the natural 
bridge. 

The area has significant historical interest. The northern portion of the property is traversed by the 
Old Bellamy Road which was authorized by Congress in 1 824 to link the east and west coasts of 
Florida. The Bellamy Road was the second federal road in the nation. An abundance of chert 
artifacts adds to the archaeological value of the area. Chert, also known as flint or flintrock, was 
used by American Indians in the manufacture of axe heads, spear heads, and arrow points. 

Major plant communities within the park and preserve are sandhill, mesic hammock, bottomland 
hardwood swamp, and sandy scrub. Dominant species of the sandhill community include longleaf 
pine and loblolly pine. Other sandhill species include turkey oak and wiregrass. Dominant plant 



IV-25 
amended August 28, 1997 



species in the mesic hammock community include the live oak, laurel oak, pignut hickory, and 
swamp chestnut oak with the sub-canopy made up of hollies, many shrubs, and wildflowers. 

Areas of sandy scrub are found on the natural levees and the floodplain along the river. Due to a lack 
of nutrients and dry soil conditions, trees growing here seldom attain great height. Plant species 
include sand live oak, chapman oak, and extensive areas of saw palmetto. Woody swamp borders 
much of the river and is inundated at least part of the year. Plant species in the swamp area include 
bald cypress, river birch, red maple, American hornbeam, and black gum. Animals found in the park 
include fox squirrel, gopher tortoise, red tail hawk, indigo snake, pine snake, rufus-sided towhee, 
alligator, river otter, wood duck, white ibis, whitetail deer, opossum, raccoon, wild turkey, and 
pileated woodpecker. 

OSCEOLA NATIONAL FOREST 

Osceola National Forest consists of 179,442 acres, 103,660 acres of which are in northwest 
Columbia County. The remainder of the forest is outside the region in Baker County and in the 
Northeast Florida Regional Planning District. Osceola National Forest is the largest federal 
government land holding in the region. Most of the forest consists of forested wetlands. The higher, 
better-drained areas are in the southern half of the property. The forest is covered by pine flatwoods 
with longleaf pine predominating the western one-third and slash pine predominating the eastern 
two-thirds of the forest. The most common understory includes saw palmetto and gallberry. Runner 
oak and wiregrass are the most common ground cover. Cypress is the second most-common tree 
type in the Forest. Blackgums, red bay, red maple, and holly accompany the bald cypress and pond 
cypress. Creek swamps featuring sweetbay, blackgum, and red maple occupies about 12 percent of 
the forest. A variety of wildflowers can be found throughout. 

Osceola National Forest holds a variety of wildlife and fish. Game animals include white-tailed 
deer, black bear, wild turkey, quail, rabbit, squirrel, and dove. Non-game species include more than 
50 species offish, 40 species of amphibians, 60 species of reptiles, 180 species of birds, and 48 
species of mammals. 78 The red-cockaded woodpecker, Florida sandhill crane, American alligator, 
indigo snake, and Suwannee bass are among the listed species found within the forest. . 

The National Forest Management Act of 1976 authorizes the U.S. Forest Service as the management 
agency for national forest lands. Under the act, the U.S. Forest Service is mandated to produce a 
continuous supply of goods and services from national forest lands. Goods and services are limited 
to timber, wildlife, water, forage, minerals, outdoor recreation, and soil conservation. Essentially, 
any activity detrimental to these items is prohibited in national forest lands. The National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1976 requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement 
for major projects proposed in national forests. 



78 Final Environmental Impact Statement for National Forests in Florida Land Resource Management Plan. 
U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Southern Region, Tallahassee, Fl, December 1985, pg. 111-13. 

IV-26 
amended August 28, 1997 



1 



The forest is extensively used for timber production and contains economically valuable phosphate 
deposits. Exploratory drilling during the late 1 960s indicated a high quality reserve in excess of 1 00 
million tons. There may also be some potential for oil and gas reserves, but limited exploration has 
shown no deposits. In 1984, the federal government prohibited oil, gas, and mineral extraction from 
the Osceola National Forest 

PAYNES PRAIRIE STATE PRESERVE 

Encompassing approximately 1 8,480 acres in southeastern Alachua County, Paynes Prairie State 
Preserve was acquired as part of Florida's state parks and preserves system in 1973. State preserves 
differ from state parks as they are established primarily to protect natural wildlife and habitat. 
Access is limited when necessary to prevent adverse environmental damage. State parks are 
generally more accessible and emphasize outdoor recreation and camping activities. The prairie is 
intermittently flooded and receives surface water runoff from the city of Gainesville. The quality of 
surface water runoff to the prairie is of particular concern as the prairie has direct access to the 
Floridan Aquifer via Alachua Sink. 

The major plant community of the prairie is marsh. The depth of water governs plant species and 
several vegetative zones can be found from the dry prairie edge to the deep water in the center of the 
prairie. Dog fennels, maiden cane, pickerel weed, cattails, and spatterdock occupy the dry zone. 
Woody plants such as coastal plain willow, wax myrtle, elderberry, and persimmon have invaded 
the prairie along its artificial dikes. 

Paynes Prairie is famous as a wildlife and waterfowl habitat. The abundance and diversity of animal 
life in the prairie has been well known since it was first described by explorer-naturalist William 
Bartram in 1784. Deer, otter, muskrat, alligator, and raccoon exist in the prairie along with many 
birds, including herons, egrets, ibises, ducks, and bobwhites. Listed species inhabiting the prairie 
include wood stork, Florida sandhill crane, and American kestrel. 

Paynes Prairie State Preserve, despite its size, does not include the prairie's entire ecosystem. The 
state Department of Environmental Protection is concerned about development on the fringe of the 
prairie and would like to expand its boundaries. An area of land on the northeast side of the preserve 
is proposed for purchase under the Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) program to link the 
preserve with Prairie Creek and Newnans Lake. 

PEACOCK SPRINGS STATE RECREATION AREA 

Peacock Springs State Recreation Area is located ten miles southwest of Live Oak adjacent to the 
Suwannee River in Suwannee County. The area was recently purchased by the state through the 
Conservation and Recreational Lands Program. The area is an exemplary natural ecosystem 
containing elements of statewide and regional significance. The area encompasses excellent 
examples of surface and subsurface karst limestone features, including sizeable sinks, many smaller 
sinks, and depressions. It has one of the most extensive underwater cave systems in the continental 



IV-27 
amended August 28, 1997 



United States and contains a total of 28,000 feet of explored and surveyed underwater passages. 79 
The underwater cave system is widely regarded as one of the best underwater cave diving areas in 
the United States. In addition, the property has important archeological value as an early Spanish 
mission site. 

The sinks and associated aquatic cave system provide critical habitat for at least three listed species 
of cave crustaceans endemic to Florida. The area also contains mature, second-growth and 
old-growth forest stands. 

ST. MARKS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge comprises approximately 7,630 acres, of which 950 acres 
are in Taylor County on the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Aucilla River. The remaining 6,680 
acres are in adjacent Jefferson County and the Appalachee Regional Planning District. 

SAN FELASCO HAMMOCK STATE PRESERVE 

San Felasco Hammock is located in the center of Alachua County between the cities of Gainesville 
and Alachua. The hammock has the most fertile soil on the Florida peninsula and is the last large 
remaining example of hardwood hammock in the region. San Felasco Hammock has many steep 
slopes, ravines, sinkholes, ponds, scattered swamps, and sand ridges. It contains virtually every 
species of plant and animal native to Alachua County. In addition, the hammock recharges to the 
Floridan Aquifer. Surface water runoff is transported into the hammock via Turkey Creek and Blue's 
Creek. San Felasco Hammock was purchased by the state in 1972. 

The hammock comprises approximately 6,230 acres of wild forest land with some pasture land on 
its northern edge. Most of the forest has been selectively logged during the 20 years prior to its 
purchase by the state. The selective cutting does not appear to have caused any permanent damage. 

SUWANNEE RIVER STATE PARK 

Located 14 miles west of Live Oak and 15 miles east of the City of Madison, Suwannee River State 
Park features the confluence of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers. The park comprises 
approximately 1,831 acres of open pine sandhills, rich hardwood hammocks, and dense river 
swamps. The banks of the Suwannee have striking exposed walls of limestone outcroppings where 
the river has cut through the underlying rock. 

Typical plants found in the sandhill community include longleaf pine, turkey oak, blue jack oak, and 
wiregrass. Sandhills are relatively high rolling prairies populated with pine trees. They are places 
of expansive openness, with wide spacing between the trees and a grassy ground cover. Original 
explorers of the area found miles upon miles of open sandhills with virgin longleaf pines towering 



J. Merrill Lynch, Suwannee River Preserve Design Project . The Nature Conservancy, Tallahassee, FL, 



1984, pg. 119. 



IV-28 
amended August 28, 1997 



above them. Most have been logged and cleared or left to succeed into hardwoods through the 
%) exclusion of natural fire. Sandhills are fire dependent, and constitute a fire-climax community where 
they appear. Wildlife found in sandhills include fox squirrel, gopher tortoise, red-tail hawk, indigo 
snake, pine snake, fence lizard, quail, rufous-sided towhee, and red cockaded woodpecker. 

Hardwood hammock is an important Florida forest type. It is considered the climax forest of the 
southeastern coastal plain. Due to heavy logging and clearing, very few sizeable areas of hardwood 
hammock remain in Florida. Wildlife species dependent on hardwood hammock are diminishing. 
Suwannee River State Park provides a rich habitat for a wide variety of wildlife dependent upon 
hardwood hammock including bobcat, deer, turkey, gray squirrel, river otter, pileated woodpecker, 
wood duck, alligator, white ibis, cottonmouth moccasin, turtles, and a variety of songbirds. 

WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT CONSERVATION AREAS 

Water management districts have acquired approximately 58,085 acres of land in the region. While 
the protection of surface water quality is one of the major reasons for water management district 
acquisitions, many other benefits^re provided by these lands. The two primary sources of funds for 
water management district land acquisitions are the Save Our Rivers Act and the Preservation 2000 
Act. The Save Our Rivers legislation created the Water Management Lands Trust Fund for acquiring 
"lands necessary for water management, water supply, and the conservation and protection of water 
resources..." The Preservation 2000 Act directs that acquisitions should be "planned so as to protect 
the integrity of ecological systems and provide multiple benefits, including preservation of fish and 
wildlife habitat, recreational space, and water recharge areas." Most of the land acquired by the 
Suwannee River Water Management District is located within the 100-year floodplain of the 
Suwannee River and its tributaries. The St. Johns River Water Management District owns a portion 
of Lochloosa Forest in southeast Alachua County. Water management districts continue to receive 
state funding for land acquisition through the Water Management Lands Trust Fund and 
Preservation 2000. The districts continue to add to their holdings. 

SURFACE WATER SYSTEMS 

The region contains a rich assortment of lakes, springs, and wetlands. The headwaters of several 
rivers are found in the region. The headwaters of other rivers that flow through the region, such as 
the Suwannee, Alapaha, and Withlacoochee, are located in Georgia. Overall, the quality of surface 
waters is good. The regional plan identifies ten lakes, 1 1 river corridors, 49 springs, and 13 wetlands 
as natural resources of regional significance. 

FRESH WATER WETLANDS 

Wetlands play a vital role in controlling flood waters, tempering the impacts of hurricanes, and 
providing habitat to native Florida animal species. Vast amounts of Florida, including north central 
Florida, were originally wetlands. Over time, wetlands have been filled and drained for 
development, mosquito control, agricultural production, timber harvesting, and mining. Despite a 
lengthy history of drain and fill practices, the region still contains substantial wetland acreage. 

IV-29 
amended August 28, 1997 



Wetlands identified by the regional plan as natural resources of regional significance consist of Bee 
Haven Bay, California Swamp, Dixie County Coastal Fresh Water Wetlands, Fowlers Prairie, Gum 
Root Swamp, Hixtown Swamp, Lake Altho Swamp, Mallory Swamp, Osceola National 
Forest/Pinhook Swamp, Paynes Prairie, San Pedro Bay, Santa Fe Swamp, Spring Warrior Swamp, 
Taylor County Coastal Fresh Water Wetlands, Tide Swamp, and Wacassassa Flats. 

COASTAL FRESH WATER WETLANDS 

The coastal fresh water wetlands are located adjacent to and landward of the Big Bend Salt Marsh 
and west of U.S. Highways 19 and 98. Coastal fresh water wetlands moderate the flow of surface 
water runoff to the Gulf by releasing water during dry periods and storing water during wet periods. 
The flow of fresh water to the gulf is vital to maintaining the brackish salt marsh environment. As 
coastal communities grow, it becomes increasingly important to minimize the alteration of coastal 
fresh water wetlands in order to maintain a healthy salt marsh and to minimize coastal flooding. 
Growth within coastal communities must not significantly alter the coastal wetland sediment 
deposition process. 

Regionally significant coastal fresh water wetlands comprise 291,508 acres. The Dixie County 
Coastal Fresh Water Wetlands comprise 201,167 acres while the Taylor County Coastal Fresh Water 
Wetlands comprise 90,341 acres. Located within the fresh water coastal wetlands are three areas 
that, in their own right, qualify as natural resources of regional significance: California Swamp, 
Spring Warrior Swamp, and Tide Swamp. These areas are described below. 

California Swamp 

California Swamp is located in southwest Dixie County between Cross City and the Gulf of Mexico. 
It is adjacent to the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and the Big Bend Salt Marsh. 
California Swamp is a coastal fresh water wetland. The variety of its habitat, wildlife, and its 
undeveloped nature make California Swamp a natural resource of regional significance in its own 
right. The major feature of California Swamp is an extensive cypress-hardwood swamp. However, 
a wide range of habitat types ranging from tidal marsh near the coast to upland hammocks and pine 
forest are found within California Swamp. 

California Swamp occupies approximately 23,104 acres. It extends from Station Lake to the Big 
Bend Salt Marsh along Sanders Creek. Its width varies from five miles near California Lake to two 
miles farther south along Sanders Creek where the forest grades into salt marsh. California Swamp 
is generally flat, having a relief of approximately two to five feet and a gentle slope to the south. 
Drainage is poorly developed. In the area from Station Lake southward some flow is channelized 
through Fishbone and California Creeks into California Lake. From there water moves through 
Sanders Creek for the remaining five miles to the Gulf. 

Although numerous logging roads were established, portions of the lower regions of the swamp are 
still inaccessible. Dirt roads are passable to California Lake and to a few private hunting camps 
located in the swamp. 



IV-30 
amended August 28, 1997 



Approximately 94.0 percent of the swamp watershed is forested land. The principal tree species 
include slash and loblolly pines, black gum, ash, oak, red maple, and cypress. Much of the land 
adjacent to the swamp has been extensively harvested and is planted pine forests. The swamp has 
a good population of deer, turkey, and squirrel. Other wildlife species include alligator, bear, 
raccoon, opossum, mink, and otter. The wetlands near the coast have many varieties of shore birds 
such as terns, plovers, and sandpipers. Wading birds living within the swamp include large 
populations of common and cattle egret, white ibis, and limpkin. 

In 1973, California Swamp area was added to the Steinhatchee Wildlife Management Area. The 
now defunct Florida Bureau of Coastal Zone Planning generally outlined the entire Gulf Coastal 
marsh at the mouth of Sanders Creek and the hardwood swamp inland along the creek as an area 
deserving preservation status. The remaining areas of the California Lake watershed were also 
designated as deserving conservation status in the Bureau's management and development plans. 

Spring Warrior Swamp 

Spring Warrior Swamp is located in Taylor County approximately five miles south of the City of 
Perry and west of U.S. Highway 19. It comprises approximately 19,840 acres and includes 
floodplain forest with good stands of cypress and diverse hardwoods. The swamp is an important 
source of fresh water to the gulf coastal marsh. Drainage is provided from the swamp to the gulf via 
Spring Warrior Creek. The upland areas of the swamp include live oak, magnolia, cabbage palm, 
elm, maple, hickory, sweet gum, and others. This habitat is heavily used by spring and fall migratory 
passerine birds. Both upland and floodplain hardwoods in this area constitute a prime wildlife 
habitat. 

Tide Swamp 

Tide Swamp is located in southwest Taylor County on the Gulf side of State Road 361 just north of 
the Steinhatchee River. The swamp was purchased in 1986 by the State of Florida as part of the Big 
Bend Coastal Tracts acquisition. Tide Swamp is heavily vegetated and includes a variety of 
softwood and hardwood timber species along with an abundance of mixed grasses and reeds. Its 
diverse vegetation makes the area appealing to many wildlife species common to north central 
Florida including game and non-game migratory birds. 

Portions of the swamp were previously cleared for forestry products in the 1930s. Proctor and 
Gamble, the former owners, managed the area for sustained yield timber production, hunting, and 
recreation in cooperation with the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. The state's 
management of Tide Swamp now focuses less on timber production and more on wildlife 
management through controlled burning, food plot maintenance, and some timber harvesting. 

Wildlife found in Tide Swamp include whitetail deer, wild turkey, feral hogs, and squirrels. 
Additionally, numerous wading birds can be seen throughout the year all along the coastline. 
Migratory ducks and geese can be seen from September through April. Bald eagles and ospreys also 
frequent Tide Swamp. 



IV-31 
amended August 28, 1997 



Facilities at Tide Swamp are consistent with outdoor recreational uses. The state operates a public 
beach site at Hagin's Cove and maintains picnic tables and a boat ramp at Dallus Creek. In 
recognition of the growing popularity of bird watching, the state has constructed an observation 
tower near Hagin's Cove. 

INLAND WETLANDS — 

Inland wetlands consist of wetlands located north and east of U.S. highways 19 and 98. They 
comprise large areas of north central Florida and perform many valuable functions. Inland wetlands 
provide habitat for native species and moderate the flow of surface and spring waters to prevent 
flooding. They are thought to provide the base flow for the region's rivers and springs. Almost 
every inland fresh water wetland identified as a natural resource of regional significance consists of 
a combination of wetlands and uplands. Within the wetland areas proper, virtually every wetland 
is either seasonal or semi-permanent in nature. Their degree of wetness is dependent upon the 
amount and timing of annual rainfall. The regional plan recognizes nine inland wetlands as natural 
resources of regional significance, eight of which are described below. 

Bee Haven Bay 

Bee Haven Bay is located north of County Road 6 and Occidental Chemical's phosphate mining area 
and approximately four miles east of the City of Jasper in Hamilton County. As the name implies, 
Bee Haven Bay is a bayhead swamp consisting of bay trees, dahoon lolly, cypress, red maple, and 
other mixed hardwoods. The bay is prime habitat for black bear and other mammals. Drainage of 
the bay is by Rock Creek to the Suwannee River. The bay contains several species of bay pitcher 
plants listed as threatened species by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 
Bee Haven Bay comprises 7,125 acres. Occidental has donated the mineral rights to Beehaven Bay 
to the Suwannee River Water Management District. 

Gum Root Swamp 

Gum Root Swamp is a natural hardwood swamp covering approximately 2,800 acres on the north 
side of Newnans Lake in eastern Alachua County. The swamp owes its environmental value to its 
function as a natural filter and purifier for runoff waters for a large watershed. 

At its position at the base of the Hatchett Creek watershed, all the waters from the creek as well as 
overland flow from a wide area pass through the swamp before entering Newnans Lake. These 
waters are very high in nutrients due to the large amount of surrounding agricultural land and the 
number of homes in the vicinity. Biological processes occurring in the swamp convert nutrients in 
the water to cellulose and plant life, leaving the water in a more purified form as it flows into 
Newnan's Lake. Currently, the large nutrient production in the watershed exceeds the capacity of 
Gum Root Swamp to assimilate these nutrients and has contributed to the eurrophication of the lake. 



IV-32 
amended August 28, 1997 



A wide, often wet, and heavily vegetated fringe area has helped restrict access and development of 
* \ the swamp. In this fringe area the dominant forest vegetation includes live oak, laurel oak, and red 
maple. The predominant understory species include gallberry, palmetto, wax myrtle, red bay, 
blackberry, and American holly. 

Cypress and gum trees predominate the swamp while red maple and bay trees are also abundant. The 
numbers of sweet gum, wax myrtle, and gallberry increase in density toward the edge of the swamp. 
Many ferns, mosses, and lichen are evident as undergrowth vegetation. Selective cutting of 
hardwood occurred approximately 50 years ago. Abandoned, overgrown tramways as well as debris 
left over from earlier cuttings have been found among the thick vegetation. The swamp appears to 
have regained its natural state and no evidence of recent harvesting is apparent. Mixed hardwoods 
of commercial value exist in the swamp. The inaccessibility of the area due to its very wet nature 
may be an obstruction to harvesting. 

Gum Root Swamp is considered to have one of the largest varieties of wildlife species of any area 
in Alachua County. There are at least two rare or endangered species living in this swamp including 
a small colony of wood storks and a small number of bald eagles. Other birds which frequent the 
area include egrets, herons, bitterns, and white ibis. Also identified in the area are anhinga, osprey, 
loon, cormorant, black and turkey vulture, and turkey. Deer and otter also inhabit the swamp and 
its marginal areas. 

Hixtown Swamp 

Hixtown Swamp is located between the cities of Madison and Greenville in central Madison County. 
It is roughly confined on the north by U.S. Highway 90 and on the south by Interstate 10. Hixtown 
Swamp comprises approximately 10,289 acres. 

The swamp is a wide expanse of wetlands interspersed with islands, peninsulas, and cypress stands. 
It is surrounded by higher rolling country. The highlands surrounding the swamp often reach 
elevations approximately 50 feet higher than the swamp. It is the most extensive, undisturbed 
cypress swamp still found in northern Florida. Many of the islands of pond and bald cypress which 
were cut around 1900 have returned to sizeable trees of 12 to 18 inches in diameter. The luxuriant 
undergrowth includes many species commonly found in more northern areas and is almost totally 
different from the semitropical cypress swamps of south Florida. 

A rich diversity of wildlife occurs in the swamp. The area contains one of north Florida's heaviest 
concentrations of wildlife. In addition to alligator, other large species include otter, raccoon, wildcat, 
deer, fox, and black bear. Wading birds are abundant, including white ibis, American egret, sandhill 
crane, great blue heron, Louisiana heron, little green heron, little blue heron, least bittern, common 
bittern, limpkin, many duck species, black and turkey vulture, osprey, bald eagle and the wood 
stork. 80 



80 

Significant Natural Areas , pg. 54. 



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The highlands surrounding the swamp are largely devoted to farming and cattle grazing. A small 
amount of pulp cutting and some cypress timbering occurs in the fringe areas. However, there 
appears to be no large-scale tree harvesting at present. Domestic cattle use pastures abutting the 
swamp when dry. The adjacent waters of the swamp often provide a source of drinking water to 
these animals. 

Cypress and bottomland hardwoods predominate the isolated hammock islands and in low areas 
bordering the swamp. Plant species occurring in the fringe area include spruce, slash, loblolly and 
longleaf pines, bottomland gums, and many varieties of oak, magnolia, and willow. The dense 
understory consists of way myrtle, sea myrtle, elderberry, green briar, sumac, and wild plum. 

The swamp is one of the most productive wetlands in north central Florida. The dominant aquatic 
vegetation in the swamp is maidencane. Associated species are abundant and consist of frogbit, 
floating hear, wampee, pickerel weed, cow tongue, golden club, dotted smartweed, watershield, 
water lily, and a variety of aquatic grasses. 

Drainage in the marsh is generally in a southeasterly direction with one small stream, Sundown 
Creek, carrying a majority of the outflow for the area. Several other culverts running beneath I- 10 
transmit water to southern portions of the swamp. 

Lochloosa Forest 

Lochloosa Forest is located in southeastern Alachua County and comprises approximately 28,450 
acres, including 1,200 acres of Orange Lake. It is a state Wildlife Management Area and is 
proposed for purchase by the state through the Conservation and Recreational Lands program. 
Approximately 10,000 acres of the forest area were recently purchased by the St. Johns River Water 
Management District. In addition, the district has recently acquired the development rights to 
approximately 17,000 acres of adjacent Georgia-Pacific timberlands. 

Approximately 62.0 percent of the land area is composed of commercial pine plantation. The 
remainder is in natural condition and the biological communities are in good health. Lochloosa 
Forest forms the habitat for several listed species. Approximately 16 active bald eagle nests are in 
the area. 81 The River Styx rookery, located within the forest, contains one of the two most important 
wood stork colonies in northern Florida. Between 100 and 125 nesting pairs of wood stork, 
recognized as an endangered species, nest in the large cypress trees of the rookery. 82 It is one of the 
few stable and constantly productive rookeries in the state. The few colonies of wood storks in 



81 Annual Report of the Conservation and Recreation Lands Section Committee. Division of State Lands, 
Tallahassee, FL, 1985, pg. 21 1. 

82 Robert M. Brantley, Executive Director of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, 
correspondence of March 6, 1984 to Mr. John Bethea, Director, Division of Forestry, Department of Agriculture 
and Consumer Services, Tallahassee, Fl. 

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Florida and one colony in Georgia, are all that exist in North America. In addition, the rookery is 
used as a nesting site by many ospreys and herons. 83 

The River Styx flows through the forest into the northern tip of Orange Lake. The river environment 
is defined by a broad expanse of swamp forest and hammock for two and one-half miles from Camps 
Canal on the north to Orange Lake on the south. The river's sluggish trace southwardly obscured 
within a 3,500 acre area of swamp, forest, and hardwood hammock. The dense, undisturbed 
vegetation system gives way to a shallow marsh area at its junction with Orange Lake. The 
inaccessibility of the area creates a large rookery for colonies of wading birds otherwise sensitive 
to human encroachment. 

Mallory Swamp and San Pedro Bay 

Totaling approximately 515,800 acres, Mallory Swamp and San Pedro Bay comprise the largest 
inland wetland system in the region. They form a nearly continuous band of wetlands through Dixie, 
Lafayette, and Taylor counties north of U.S. Highway 19. These large wetlands form the headwaters 
of the streams that comprise the coastal rivers basin, including the Econfina, Fenholloway, and 
Steinhatchee rivers. Most of the area consists of large tracts owned by timber companies. Between 
the 1930s and the 1970s, canals were dug to drain the wetlands for pine production but, due to the 
wetness of the area, were only partially successful. As a result, the area is currently a mixture of pine 
plantation and wetlands. 

Mallory Swamp and San Pedro Bay are of regional significance due to their role in maintaining the 
hydrologic balance of the coastal rivers and their estuaries. In a natural state, these wetlands serve 
as a wide, shallow reservoir of both ground and surface waters. They provide the base flow for the 
coastal rivers through surface runoff and seepage from surficial aquifers. The past drainage efforts 
have altered the hydrologic balance by releasing too much storm water too quickly, resulting in 
disruptions to sensitive estuarine ecosystems. Because estuaries are uniquely adapted to, and 
dependent on, cyclical changes of fresh water inflow, changes to that balance can have significant 
adverse impacts to the estuary. 

The Suwannee River Water Management District in the late 1 980s examined the issue at the request 
of the Steinhatchee River Association, whose members were concerned about declining fisheries in 
the Steinhatchee River estuary. The District's study determined there was too much water draining 
too quickly into the river and estuary after storm events, but the hydrologic alterations upstream 
alone could not be the sole cause for the declining fishery. 

The Steinhatchee River study confirmed that the past drainage attempts created significant 
hydrologic changes in the watershed. The study identified six major canal systems totaling 76 miles. 
Dug by timber companies, the canals were designed to speed drainage for improved pine tree growth 
and improved access for logging trucks. The canals caused surface water runoff within the basin to 



83 

Significant Natural Areas , pg. 82. 



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move much faster to the Gulf after heavy rains. Research studies in other Florida waters have shown 
the runoff interferes with fish using estuaries. 

The area timber companies voluntarily agreed to change practices to allow the land to retain more 
water after rains. Those changes include installing flashboard culverts, allowing canals to become 
overgrown with vegetation and reducing road elevations to allow water to overflow from roadside 
canals into adjacent wetlands. The results to date have been noticeable downstream with less 
freshwater flooding after rains. The District recently purchased 5,250 acres of Mallory Swamp in 
southwestern Lafayette County to help alleviate the concern. 

Osceola National Forest/Pinhook Swamp 

Lying 1 5 miles northeast of Lake City and extending through much of Columbia County to the 
Georgia border, the Osceola National Forest/ Pinhook Swamp area is essentially one continuous 
wetland system from the Okefenokee Swamp to Interstate Highway 10. The swamp extends 
eastward from U.S. Flighway 441 into Baker County and the Northeast Florida Regional Planning 
District. Covering approximately 184,347 acres within north central Florida, the swamp is the 
largest continuous wilderness area in the region. 

The northern portion of the area is dominated by Pinhook Swamp, which is predominantly a cypress, 
gum, and loblolly bay swamp. It is a vast open area which is almost continually flooded, 
interspersed with dotted pine, cypress, and shrubs in open areas. The swamp is not as aesthetically 
pleasing as other natural resources of regional significance within the region but has a unique 
character due to the bleak wilderness quality of the expansive tree dotted prairie and thick fetter bush 
and titi-based vegetation around its fringe. 

The swamp is very wet with many peat bogs and generally has a very rich humus soil. Pine forests 
are found in higher areas around the swamp and the southern half of Osceola National Forest. Slash 
pines are, in many cases, planted in fringe areas, but harvesting has apparently not been on a large 
scale due to the wetness of the ground. These fringe areas are typical pine flatwoods which give way 
near the swamp to cypress, slash and long-leaf pine, magnolia, and sweet bay. 

The area is a valuable wildlife habitat. Rare, endangered, or protected species included in this 
habitat are the Black Bear, the Florida sandhill crane, and the bald eagle. It has one-third of Florida's 
entire bear population. The swamp has a good population of deer and turkey, squirrel, rabbit, otter, 
beaver, and many varieties of snakes and other reptiles, including alligators. Common birds reported 
in this area include the anhinga, many species of egrets, heron, and ibis, as well as many duck 
species, including wood duck. Canadian geese now frequent the area as winter residents. 

Drainage of the swamp is very poor. Timber companies have dug a few canals to drain portions of 
the swamp by channeling runoff water into fringe areas and off of access roads. However, no large 
scale drainage works have been undertaken. Surface runoff generally flows westerly to the 
Suwannee River principally through Little Creek with some runoff flowing easterly to St. Mary's 
River in Baker County. 



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amended August 28, 1997 



Santa Fe Swamp 

Santa Fe Swamp is located north of Little Santa Fe Lake in northeastern Alachua County and 
southeastern Bradford County. The swamp in its natural capacity performs valuable services to the 
region as part of the headwaters of Santa Fe River, contributing to aquifer recharge and serving as 
an excellent and remote wildlife habitat. Santa Fe Swamp was donated by the Georgia-Pacific 
Corporation to the Suwannee River Water Management District in 1984. 

Santa Fe Swamp encompasses approximately 5,567 acres. The major feature of this area is its 
extensive hardwood swamp. A 300-acre sandhill community dominated by longleaf pine, turkey 
oak, and wire grass is found along the eastern side of the swamp. The remainder of the property 
consists primarily of inaccessible wetlands. The swamp community consists of a mosaic of 
vegetation types including pine flatwoods, cypress swamps, bayheads, wet prairies, and marshes, 
portions of which resemble Okefenokee Swamp. The dominant swamp vegetation includes cypress, 
gum, and bay trees. 

Water quality is largely unknown but is probably good based upon limited available records and 
visual inspection of the Santa Fe River near the swamp. A considerable number of wading birds 
have been observed in the feeding ponds and prairies, and the area provides habitat for waterfowl 
and game species. In addition, nesting pairs of bald eagles have been observed in the swamp along 
with black bear and wood stork. 

Animal species inhabiting the area around the Santa Fe River likely reside in the swamp. There are 
no roads or access to it of any kind. Appearing completely undisturbed and of high aesthetic value, 
the area is expected to be the habitat of a diverse and abundant wildlife population. 

Wacassassa Flats 

Occupying approximately 59,074 acres, Wacassassa Flats runs down the center of Gilchrist County. 
The flats are part of a larger wetland system which runs into Levy County and the Withlacoochee 
Regional Planning District. During the rainy season, waters in the aquifer build up sufficient 
pressure to spill out of the many sinkholes and ponds scattered throughout the flats to inundate the 
area. 

The area is predominantly comprised of commercial pine plantation. Pine stands are interspersed 
among numerous cypress ponds, depression marshes, hydric hammock, and other wetland 
communities. Several lakes (the largest of which is 150 acres), small areas of upland hardwood 
forest, sandhill, and other minor natural communities contribute to the diversity of the flats. 



IV-37 
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LAKES 

Lakes identified as natural resources of regional significance include those of relatively large size, 
those with shorelines under the control of two or more local governments, and those which are 
environmentally sensitive. Several of the lakes are recognized by the state as Outstanding Florida 
Waters while others are included in the Suwannee River Water Management District's Surface 
Water Improvement Management (SWIM) program. Regionally significant lakes are Orange Lake, 
Santa Fe Lake, Little Santa Fe Lake, Newnans Lake, Lake Lochloosa, Little Lochloosa Lake, Lake 
Sampson, Lake Butler, Lake Geneva, and Alligator Lake. 84 Two lakes are highlighted below. 

ALLIGATOR LAKE 

Alligator Lake is 1,200 acres of lake, wetlands, and flood plain located in central Columbia County. 
The lake proper consists of two interconnected waterbodies. The northern lake, locally known as 
"Big Lake" is located within the City of Lake City. The smaller waterbody, known as "Small Lake" 
is located in unincorporated Columbia County. Alligator Lake owes its regional significance to 
several plugged sinkholes which are located within the lake. The sinkholes have direct connection 
to the Floridan Aquifer. Approximately once every five to seven years, one or more of the sinkholes 
become unplugged, draining the contents of the lake into the Floridan Aquifer. Approximately one- 
half of the lake was diked and drained by private property owners during the 1950s and 1960s. A 
Florida State Supreme Court decision (Hill vs. McDuffie) ruled, among other things that the diked 
area was land, not lake, and that the dike could remain. 

The lake is located in an area of low elevation and receives considerable surface water runoff from 
the city of Lake City. Most of Lake City was developed before enactment of surface water 
management regulations. As a result, surface waters entering the lake receive little treatment. 
Alligator Lake was recognized as one of the 50 poorest lakes in the state in terms of water quality 
by the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation in 1983. The ranking was primarily due to 
high nutrient levels, chronic algal blooms, and fish kills. 85 In 1988, the Suwannee River Water 
Management District classified Alligator Lake as a "priority water" in their Surface Water 
Improvement Management (SWIM) program. It is the only waterbody listed as a "restoration" 
waterbody on the District's SWIM priority list. 

In 1995, Columbia County applied for and received funding from Florida Communities Trust to 
purchase the diked portion of Alligator Lake and to restore the lake to its original condition. 
Negotiations are currently underway between Columbia County and the private landowners. 



84 Surface area information was generally obtained from Edward A. Femald and Donald J. Patton, Water 
Resources in Florida . Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL., 1984, pg. 285. The surface area of Alligator Lake, 
is estimated by the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, September, 1994. 

85 Myers, V.B. and Edmiston, Florida Lake Classification and Prioritization. Final Report. Project 
#S004388. Florida Department of Environmental Regulation Technical Report, Tallahassee, FL, 1983. 

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amended August 28, 1997 



4)}) NEWNANSLAKE 

Located just east of the city of Gainesville in Alachua County, Newnans Lake is a perched surface 
waterbody with an area of 6,007 acres and a mean depth of six feet. 86 The lake obtains regional 
significance for several reasons. The northern lake shoreline is the boundary- of Gum Root Swamp, 
a natural resource of regional significance. Prairie Creek, the lake's only surface outflow, flows 
directly to Paynes Prairie State Preserve. A natural edge of cypress and gum trees in a relatively 
undisturbed state surrounds the entire lake. Due to a wet shoreline, very little residential 
development exists next to the lake. 

RIVER CORRIDORS 

Regionally significant river corridors consist of the Alapaha, Aucilla, Econflna, Ichetucknee, Santa 
Fe, Steinhatchee, Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers. In addition, three small streams located in 
southeastern Alachua County, the River Styx, Prairie Creek, and Cross Creek, are also recognized 
by the regional plan as natural resources of regional significance. River corridors consist of the 
stream channel and the 100-year floodplain. In the case of the Aucilla, Econfina, and Steinhatchee 
rivers, as well as the River Styx, Prairie Creek, and Cross Creek, the river corridor consists of the 
river/stream channel and a buffer area extending landward 1/4-mile from the commonly-recognized 
river/stream banks. The buffers will be replaced by the 100-year floodplain of these rivers as 
floodplain information becomes available. The 1/4-mile river buffers and the 100-year floodplain 
of the Suwannee River system comprise 177,264 acres. 



% 



ALAPAHA RIVER CORRIDOR 

The Alapaha River travels 125 miles from its headwaters in southwestern Georgia to the Suwannee 
River in Hamilton County. The Alapaha drainage basin contains 1,840 square miles. Only a small 
portion of the river, approximately 40 miles, flows through north central Florida. Similarly, only 140 
square miles of its 1 ,840 square mile drainage basin is located in the region. The river flow averages 
1,346 cubic feet per second (cfs). 87 

The Alapaha is similar to the upper Suwannee with high and steep banks winding through 
undeveloped forest lands. Unlike the Suwannee, the Alapaha is divided into two distinct segments 
by a group of sinks. The river flows continuously year-round in the northern segment. The northern 
segment flows into the sinks, channeling a significant portion of the river flow underground. The 
southern segment flows intermittently. The sinks absorb all of the northern segment waters during 
periods of low flow. Water flows the entire length of the Alapaha about 60 percent of the time. The 
river's waters travel through underground limestone channels for 19 miles to re-emerge at Alapaha 
Rise and possibly Holton Spring. 



Ad Hoc Committee for Newnan's Lake Environmental Concerns, Report: 1983 Alachua County . 
Gainesville, Fl., 1983, pg. 13. 

87 

f . Water Resources Division, United States Geological Survey, Water Resource Data for Florida. Vol. 4. 

Northwest Florida . Tallahassee, Fl., 1984. 

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AUCILLA RIVER CORRIDOR 

The Aucilla River begins near the Georgia community of Boston and meanders 69 miles through 
Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. The river drains approximately 805 square miles and has an average 
discharge of 436 cfs. 88 

Forming the boundary between Jefferson, Madison, and Taylor counties, the Aucilla River flows 
through the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area in northern Taylor County to the St. Marks Wildlife 
Management Area on the gulf. The Aucilla River provides some of Florida's most unspoiled river 
vistas available to canoeists and hikers. The river has been designated an Outstanding Florida Water. 
The state recently purchased property adjacent to the river to protect a unique sink area known as the 
Aucilla River Sinks, a natural resource of regional significance in its own right. The river traverses 
upland forests of longleaf pine and turkey oak, old growth mesic and hydric hardwood forests, 
cypress and gum swamps, beech-magnolia groves, live oak hammocks, and finally the salt marsh of 
the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. 

Bald eagles, osprey, otters, and turkeys are seen, as are smaller animals such as fox squirrels and 
raccoons. Many species of birds either nest or migrate through the coastal marsh segment of the 
river. Indian mounds dating back more than 2,000 years are scattered along it. Much of the river 
floodplain is owned and managed by timber companies effectively restricting residential 
development. The two wildlife management areas provide habitat for many plant and wildlife 
species. 

ECONFINA RIVER CORRIDOR 

Located approximately midway between the Aucilla River and the City of Perry, the Econfina River 
has a length of approximately 32 miles and a drainage area of 198 square miles. The river has an 
average discharge of 138 cfs. 89 Its principal attraction is the relatively natural condition of its banks 
and estuary. Virtually no residential development has taken place along its entire length. Hardwood 
forest lines the banks of the river while numerous adjacent lands are in managed pine forest. The 
river is much wider at the Gulf and forms an important estuary. 

Water quality of the river and adjoining salt marsh is very good. The adjoining forests contribute 
to the quality of the salt marsh by filtering water before it reaches the coast and by acting as a buffer 
between the salt marsh and the forest industry land to the north. The river corridor is primarily a 
mixture of hydric and mesic communities. The major ecosystems found on the river include salt 
marsh, mixed-pine-hardwood community, pine-oak-palm community, and river swamp. 



go 

Water Resource Data for Florida. Vol. 4. Northwest Florida . 
Water Resource Data for Florida. Vol. 4. Northwest Florida. 



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% ICHETUCKNEE RIVER CORRIDOR 

Ichetucknee Springs forms the headwaters of this five-mile long river which forms the border 
between southern Columbia and Suwannee counties. Its clear waters make the river a very popular 
location for canoeing, rafting, and tubing. The Ichetucknee River is designated by the State of 
Florida as an Outstanding Florida Water. — 

The river runs past high limestone banks, river swamp, and marsh shoreline where dominant plant 
types are ribbon grass, spatterdock, coastal willow, and buttonbush. The swamp area has several 
beaver lodges. Animals common to the park include turkey, limpkin, apple snail, Suwannee bass, 
gulf pipe fish, and river otter. Recently, manatees have been sighted in the river. 

The river floodplain is mainly composed of sandhills and mesic hammock vegetation. A sandhill 
community is located in the highest elevations. Common plants include turkey oaks, sand post oak, 
longleaf pine, bracken fern, and wiregrass. The corridor contains a small area of river swamp which 
is poorly drained, frequently flooded, and has a dense canopy. Dominant trees include red maple, 
sweetgum, American elm, Florida ash, and bald cypress. 

SANTA FE RIVER CORRIDOR 

The Santa Fe River is the largest tributary of the Suwannee, flowing 75 miles from its headwaters 
at Santa Fe Lake in northeast Alachua County to its confluence with the Suwannee River in 
northwest Gilchrist County. The river drains a watershed of 1 ,440 square miles. The Santa Fe has 
four major tributaries of its own: the Ichetucknee River, New River, Sampson River, and Olustee 
Creek. Both the Santa Fe River and Olustee Creek are designated as Outstanding Florida Waters. 
With average recorded flows of more than 1,500 feet per second, the large volume of surface waters 
flowing through the river make the Santa Fe a natural resource of regional significance independent 
of the Suwannee. 90 

The forest areas which surround the river consist of swamp forest and hammock forest. The swamp 
forest has an abundant diversity of tree species including sweet gum, tupelo gum, pumpkin ash, 
Carolina ash, laurel oak, Florida elm, red maple, bald cypress, water hickory and water locust. The 
intermittently flooded areas of the river swamp show a preponderance for live oak trees. The 
overcup oak and river birch species reach the southern limit of their range along the Santa Fe River. 

Most wildlife species found in north central Florida can also be found along the Santa Fe River. 
Bobcats and an occasional black bear may still be found. Wide-ranging species such as deer, grey 
squirrel, turkey, and otter are also present. Alligators are abundant, particularly in the eastern portion 
of the river. The bird population is extensive and includes the common egret and heron, pileated 



* 



90 

Water Resource Data for Florida. Vol. 4. Northwest Florida . 



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woodpecker, limpkin, kingfisher, red shouldered hawk, bam owl, several species of warbler, and 
the rare Mississippi kite. 91 

The Santa Fe River is in a nearly natural state and receives almost no domestic or industrial 
pollution. The most notable attribute of the upper Santa Fe River is the Santa Fe Swamp, which is 
owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District. The lower Santa Fe is -noted for its 
many springs. The area between O'leno State Park and the Suwannee River confluence is the center 
of the range of the Suwannee Bass, a species of very restricted distribution, which is also an excellent 
game fish. The lower Santa Fe harbors an estimated 80 to 90 percent of the total population of this 
unique species. The area between the Ichetucknee River and Poe Springs is an important fossil site. 
Many springs are found along the river, including Poe Spring, Lily Spring, Ginnie Springs, Devil's 
Eye Spring, Dogwood Spring, July Spring, Blue Spring, Naked Spring, and Rum Island Spring. 

STEINHATCHEE RIVER CORRIDOR 

The Steinhatchee River Corridor forms the border between Dixie and Taylor counties. The 
Steinhatchee River is approximately 30 miles long and has an average flow of 325 cfs. 92 The river 
is formed out of many small tributaries whose headwaters are found in San Pedro Bay, which is in 
northern Taylor and southern Lafayette counties. Approximately four miles downstream of 
Steinhatchee Springs, the river disappears underground for a distance of approximately Vi mile. 
From its resurgence it is possible to canoe the entire distance to the Gulf without portage. 
Downstream, the river forms a large estuary at the Gulf coast. The town of Steinhatchee, a small 
fishing village, is located at the river's mouth. 

The outstanding feature of the Steinhatchee is its undeveloped nature. Virtually the entire length of 
the river from Steinhatchee Springs to the town of Steinhatchee is in a relatively natural state. Many 
hardwood trees line its banks. Another distinctive feature of the river are the extensive tidal flats at 
its mouth. The river has a relatively large coastal drainage basin of approximately 375,000 acres, 
most of which is wet forests and titi-based swamps. 

SUWANNEE RIVER CORRIDOR 

The Suwannee River Corridor consists of the 1 00-year floodplain of the Suwannee River. The 
Suwannee River Corridor serves an important role in the region by linking inland wetlands to Gulf 
coastal marshes. The river also plays an important role in the control of fresh water flooding. No 
flood control structures are found along the river within the State of Florida. Instead, the Suwannee 
relies upon its large floodplain to control flood waters. The Suwannee River is the setting of many 
natural features including an abundance of fresh water springs, sinks, and underwater caves. The 
river is widely used as a recreational resource for camping, boating, canoeing, skindiving, and 
fishing. 



91 Significant Natural Areas. Gainesville, Fl., 1977, pg. 60. 

92 

Water Resource Data for Florida. Vol, 4. Northwest Florida . 



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% 



The Suwannee River is the second largest Florida river in terms of water flow and is one of the most 
important water resources in the region. The river is 235 miles in length, of which 207 miles 
traverse north central Florida. From its headwaters in the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, 
the river flows south across the Northern Highlands and into the Gulf Coastal Lowlands, eventually 
draining 9,950 square miles into its estuary at the Gulf of Mexico. The Suwannee forms the borders 
of seven north central Florida counties and drains all, or portions of, ten counties within-the region. 93 
The Suwannee River estuary is a complex system of diverse natural communities and is a major 
nursery for commercial fish and shellfish. 

The Suwannee has a flow of approximately one billion gallons per day at its entrance to the State of 
Florida and empties seven billion gallons per day into the Gulf of Mexico. 94 Unlike many rivers, the 
Suwannee's water quality is generally better downstream than up. The headwaters of the Suwannee, 
the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, produce a dark-colored water flow high in tannic and humic 
acids from the decay of lush swamp vegetation. Downstream springs provide the Suwannee with 
a high quality water source. The Suwannee is fed by more than 50 springs and has six of the nation's 
75 first magnitude springs. During periods of drought the springs are a major source of the 
Suwannee's water. 

The Suwannee has relatively few tributaries compared with most rivers due to the basin's well- 
draining sands and underlying limestone channels. Instead of having many tributaries as sources of 
water, the great number of sinks and lakes in the region collect rain and local runoff before it can 
reach the Suwannee. Thus the soils and sinkholes contribute to water pressure deep inside the 
aquifer, helping to promote the flow of high quality spring water to the Suwannee. 

The Suwannee River flows across sediments formed over a time span of 40 million years. Many of 
these sediments, deposited in large deltas, estuaries, and shallow ocean environments, are composed 
of limestone, dolostone, and other sandy materials. The dissolution of underlying limestone 
produces scenic rock outcroppings, sinkholes, and the many springs along the river. This 
diversification of geologic features greatly contributes to its scenic and recreational value. 

The vegetation along the river adds to its scenic beauty. Its forested banks are unique in that they 
traverse every major terrestrial habitat in Florida. Fresh water marsh and swamp forests occur at its 
headwaters while salt marsh can be found at the river's mouth. The variety, size, and geographic 
location of its plant communities are noteworthy. 

The river and its heavily forested floodplains provide excellent habitat for many fish and animal 
species, most notably the Suwannee black bass, Okefenokee pigmy sunfish, West Indian manatee 
and Atlantic sturgeon. The sturgeon have historically been a mainstay of fishermen all along the 
Gulf coast. However, due to over-fishing, dam construction, and river pollution, their numbers have 
declined to the point where it is considered an endangered specie on the Mississippi River. The 



Except Taylor County. 



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Suwannee River is the only river in the eastern Gulf of Mexico which supports a normally 
functioning population of Atlantic sturgeon. In the spring, adult sturgeons migrate upstream from 
their wintering grounds over the continental shelf to spawning areas in shallow portions of the upper 
Suwannee. Adults return to the Gulf of Mexico in the fall. Juveniles may remain in fresh or 
brackish water for three to five years before entering the open ocean. 95 West Indian manatees occur 
in the lower Suwannee River during the warmer months of the year. During the winter months, they 
concentrate at Manatee Springs, one of six natural warm water refuges within the state for this 
endangered species. 96 

Thirty-nine species of amphibians, 73 species and subspecies of reptiles, 232 species and subspecies 
of birds, and 42 species and subspecies of mammals are present within the Suwannee River 
Corridor. 97 The large number of species may be attributable to the river's diverse and undeveloped 
habitat. The river forms an important dividing line that abruptly terminates the range of a number 
of species. Some animal species such as the alligator snapping turtle, wood thrush and marsh hawk 
reach the southern and eastern limits of their range on the northeast bank of the Suwannee. Other 
species reach their westerly and northerly limits at the river, such as the Florida crow and the Florida 
black bass. 98 Forested areas along the river support white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Black bear 
can be found in small numbers. 

Small game species occurring in the watershed include bobwhite quail, mourning dove, grey squirrel, 
woodcock and common snipe. The Suwannee River estuary has abundant habitat for waterfowl. 
Many duck species use the river including mallard, pintail, red-breasted merganser, black duck, and 
gadwall. 

The Suwannee has not been significantly degraded due to human use. The river's water quality is 
high and its banks are relatively free of streamside development. Recreational use of the Suwannee 
River and its tributaries (Alapaha, Ichetucknee, Santa Fe, and Withlacoochee rivers) is increasing 
as the region's population grows and people from around the state become increasingly aware of its 
recreational resources. Potential for conflicts and resource degradation (e.g., bank and shoreline 
erosion, water pollution, manatee collisions, etc.) increases in direct proportion to increased use of 
the river system. 



95 Angelo D. Becasso, Nick Fotheringham, Alice E. Redfield, Ronald L. Frew, William M. Levitan, Joel E. 
Smith, and Jarrett O. Woodrow, Jr., Gulf Coast Ecological Inventory: User's Guide and Information Base. Dames 
and Moore, Bethesda, Md., 1982, pg. 132. 

Gulf Coast Ecological Inventory: User's Guide and Information Base ., pg. 130. 

Gulf Coast Ecological Inventory: User's Guide and Information Base , pg. 132. 

98 S. David Webb, "A Short Report on the Ecology of the Suwannee River Drainage", Florida State 
Museum, Gainesville, Fl., 1970, pg. 4-7. 

IV-44 
amended August 28, 1997 



i 



1 



Local governments have responsibility for establishing boating safety zones, which in turn are 
enforced by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the Florida Marine Patrol, and 
local law enforcement agencies. There are no consistent, enforceable boating traffic controls 
currently in effect on the Suwannee or its tributaries. An opportunity exists for state agencies and 
local governments to coordinate in the development of a comprehensive boating safety and resource 
protection strategy for the Suwannee River system. - — 

WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER CORRIDOR 

The Withlacoochee River begins its 108-mile journey to the Suwannee near Tifton, Georgia. 
Flowing southeasterly, it joins the Suwannee near Ellaville at Suwannee River State Park. Some 28 
miles of the river lies within Florida, forming the border between Madison and Hamilton 
counties. The river flows through some of the state's most picturesque wetlands, with its varying 
river channel exhibiting such features as sandy beaches and impressive limestone outcroppings. 
Several springs feed the Withlacoochee and add to its scenic qualities, including Withlacoochee Blue 
Spring, Suwannacoochee Spring, and Morgan Springs. Approximately 2,120 square miles are 
contained within the Withlacoochee drainage basin in Georgia and Florida. The river itself has a 
recorded discharge at the Suwannee ranging from 93 to 2,060 cfs with an average flow of 
approximately 1,000 cfs." 

The river is accessible by small boats and canoes. Shoals and shallow areas severely limit powerboat 
access. Only one public boat launch is on the Withlacoochee, with canoes and other small boats 
primarily launched at road crossings. The Withlacoochee River Canoe Trail was the first river canoe 
trail established in Florida. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection maintains the trail 
in cooperation with the Coastal Plain Area Tourism Council of Valdosta, Georgia. The trail begins 
north of Valdosta and ends 56 miles downstream at its confluence with the Suwannee River. 

The ecology of the Withlacoochee River is similar to the Suwannee. Forest types vary considerably. 
Longleaf and slash pine forest located in the sandhills give way to bottomland forest near the river. 
Oak and pine form the predominant tree types. The forests along the river's bank are harvested 
primarily for pulpwood. There are very few areas with residential development along the river, and 
these are located near the river's mouth at its junction with the Suwannee. The remainder of the river 
corridor is in a relatively natural condition. 

Wildlife species occurring within the river corridor include a year-round population of wood duck. 
Beaver, once trapped out of the river for their fur, are active and contributing to tree damage. Deer, 
gray and red fox, and a variety of bird species including the kingfisher and many species of swallow 
are abundant. A fish survey of the river by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission 
identified 3 1 species including Suwannee bass, warmouth, blue gill, shellcracker, red breast sunfish, 
spotted sucker, several species of shiner, and shad in the river. 



99 

Water Resource Data for Florida. Vol. 4. Northwest Florida . 



IV-45 
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Agricultural runoff and industrial pollution affect the river's water quality. The latter results from 
the discharge of approximately 11.7 mgd of paperboard mill wastewater into the Withlacoochee 
River near Clyattville, Georgia. Nutrient overloads and low levels of dissolved oxygen in the river 
are caused, at least in part, by these effluents. Runoff from adjacent agricultural lands is the likely 
source of high levels of colliform bacteria and phosphate found in the river. 

Despite the pollution concerns regarding small segments of the river, it remains essentially an 
undeveloped natural river affording excellent recreation potential. The varied character of the river 
itself, besides the profuse natural vegetation and absence of development, creates a very impressive 
aesthetic appearance offering a pleasing, and perhaps primitive, river experience. 

CROSS CREEK, PRAIRIE CREEK, AND RIVER STYX CORRIDORS 

Cross Creek, Prairie Creek, and the River Styx are small perennial streams in southeastern Alachua 
County. Cross Creek is the smallest of the three at approximately one mile in length. It is designated 
an Outstanding Florida Water and connects two regionally significant lakes, Orange Lake and Lake 
Lochloosa, both of which are also designated as Outstanding Florida Waters. At six miles in length, 
the River Styx is the longest of the three streams. The River Styx is also designated as an 
Outstanding Florida Water and connects Paynes Prairie State Preserve to Orange Lake. Prairie Creek 
is approximately two miles in length and connects Newnans Lake, a natural resource of regional 
significance, to Paynes Prairie State Preserve. 

SPRINGS 

More than 100 springs exist in the region, most of which are found along the Suwannee and Santa 
Fe rivers. Of Florida's 27 first magnitude springs, 10 are located in the region. Most of the springs 
issue under artesian pressure from the Floridan Aquifer with an average water temperature of 70 
degrees Fahrenheit. 100 

Regionally significant springs are as follows: Alapaha Rise, Allen Mill Pond, Allen, Anderson, Bell, 
Branford, Charles, Columbia, Convict, Copper, Devil's Eye, Ellaville, Falmouth, Fletcher, Ginnie, 
Guaranto, Hart, Holton, Hornsby, Ichetucknee, Jamison, Jonathan, July, Lilly, Little Copper, Little 
River, Lumbercamp, Mearson, Morgan's, Northbank, Otter, Owens, Peacock, Pleasant Grove, Poe, 
Rock Bluff, Running, Ruth, Santa Fe Blue, Steinhatchee, Sun, Suwanacoochee, Suwannee, 
Suwannee Blue, Telford, Troy, Turtle, Waldo, White, and Withlacoochee Blue. 



100 Jack C. Rosenau, et. al., Springs of Florida. Florida Bureau of Geology, Tallahassee, FL. 1977, pg. 4. 
Springs of Florida classifies springs based upon their rate of discharge. The Bureau identifies eight classes, or 
magnitudes, of springs. First magnitude springs discharge an average of 100 cubic feet or more of water per second. 
Second magnitude springs discharge between ten and 100 cubic feet per second. Third magnitude springs discharge 
between one to 10 cubic feet per second. By way of comparison, eighth magnitude springs discharge less than one 
pint per minute. The regional plan recognizes all first, second, and third magnitude springs and their runs, a total of 
49 springs, as natural resources of regional significance. 

IV-46 
amended August 28, 1997 



Most regionally significant springs flow into the Suwannee River system. These springs provide 
significant volume to the flow of the river and affect the river's water quality. During periods of low 
water tables, the springs occasionally act as sinkholes; whereby, the Suwannee discharges its flow 
to the Floridan Aquifer. The springs are a primary source of recreation, providing locations for 
camping, canoeing, swimming, and snorkeling. In addition, north central Florida springs are 
internationally famous among cave divers. . — 

Ground water that maintains the region's springs is susceptible to contamination from activities 
occurring within spring capture zones. Spring capture zones are similar to water wellhead capture 
zones. They represent a geographic area near the spring where, if ground water is contaminated, it 
will be disgorged by the spring at the earth's surface. Similar to wellhead capture zones, spring 
capture zones can be delineated by treating springs as pumping wells and using the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency's Wellhead Protection Area computer model to determine the size 
and shape of the capture zones. Spring capture zones have not been delineated for north central 
Florida springs. Delineation is important in order to protect the water quality of north central Florida 
springs and the surface waters supplied by springs. Three of the region's springs are highlighted 
below. 

GINNIE SPRING 

Located on the Santa Fe River in northeast Gilchrist County and northwest Alachua County, Ginnie 
Spring is associated with nine other nearby springs: Poe, Lily, Devil's Pond, Dogwood, July, Blue, 
Rum Island, Naked, and Poe. They are in a natural woodland setting easily accessible from each 
other. Much of the plant life near the springs is in a near natural state. Large species of cypress, oak, 
and maple trees surrounded by a dense undergrowth of natural vegetation, occur along the adjacent 
Santa Fe River and the spring group. A privately-owned campground surrounds Ginnie Spring. 

Ginnie Spring is a large clear water spring with depths to 40 feet and is one of the most popular 
scuba-diving springs in the region. Devil's Eye Spring is in the middle of three boils in one of the 
most beautiful combinations of springs in the state. The spring contains a multi-caved tunnel leading 
to the Santa Fe River. 

HOLTON SPRING AND HOLTON CREEK 

Holton Spring and its run to the Suwannee River, Holton Creek, are located on the north side of the 
Suwannee River approximately one mile east of the Alapaha River in Hamilton County. Holton 
Spring is one of the region's ten first magnitude springs. More importantly, it is one of the few 
remaining first magnitude springs in a relatively undisturbed, natural state. 101 Endangered species 
found in the area include the gopher tortoise and Suwannee cooter. The area also contains the cedar 



%) 



» 



Suwannee River Preserve Desien Project , pg. 55. 



IV-47 
amended August 28, 1997 



elm, an endangered tree. The area contains the largest known population of cedar elm in Florida 
with an estimated 100 to 1,000 individual trees. 102 

WITHLACOOCHEE BLUE SPRING 

Withlacoochee Blue Spring is approximately five miles east of the City of Madison on the west bank 
of the Withlacoochee River in Madison County. The site is widely used by Madison and Hamilton 
county residents for recreational activities. The spring has also gained a national reputation for cave 
diving. 

Withlacoochee Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring with an average flow of 78 mgd. The spring 
pool is 90 feet wide and 30 feet deep. A clear run travels approximately 150 feet from the spring to 
the Withlacoochee River. Vegetation around the spring consists of high pine lands and sandhills 
on the west giving way to a dense hardwood forest along the river. The vegetation is diverse with 
many large trees contributing to the aesthetic appearance of the site. 103 

PROBLEMS. NEEDS. AND OPPORTUNITIES 

The Council identifies the following natural resources of regional significance problems, needs, and 
opportunities: 

1. A need exists to preserve Big Bend coastal and marine resources identified as Natural 
Resources of Regional Significance for future generations. 

2. A need exists to establish a secondary wastewater treatment plant to service the 
unincorporated Dixie County town of Suwannee. 104 

3. A need exists to maintain an adequate supply of high-quality groundwater for all of north 
central Florida for future generations. 

4. A need exists to increase our knowledge of the relationship between ground and surface 
waters, the surface water needs of native species and natural systems, including minimum 
flows necessary to the survival of native species and natural systems. 

5. A need exists to protect all sources of recharge to the Floridan Aquifer from activities which 
would impair these functions or cause a degradation in the quality of recharging waters. 

6. A need exists to ensure the survival of flora and fauna native to the region. 



102 Ibid, pg. 55. 

10 Sienificant Natural Areas, pg. 69. 

104 See page 11-42 for a discussion of the need for a wastewater treatment plant in the unincorporated Dixie 
County town of Suwannee. 

IV-48 
amended August 28, 1997 



* 



7. A need exists to ensure the survival of all listed species currently found in north central 

Florida. 



♦ 



1 



8. A need exists for the state to protect the identified attributes of the habitats of listed species. 

9. A need exists to plan and manage Planning and Resource Management Areas identified as 
Natural Resources of Regional Significance. 

10. A need exists to maintain the quantity and quality of the region's surface water systems 
identified as Natural Resources of Regional Significance. 

11. A need exists to map the capture zones of all springs identified as natural resources of 
regional significance. 

12. An opportunity exists for state agencies and local governments to coordinate in the 
development of a comprehensive boating safety and resource protection plan for the 
Suwannee River System. 

REGIONAL GOALS AND POLICIES 

COASTAL AND MARINE RESOURCES 

BIG BEND SALT MARSH 
BIG BEND SEAGRASS BEDS 
FLORIDA MIDDLE GROUND 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.1. Preserve Big Bend coastal and marine resources identified as Natural 
Resources of Regional Significance for future generations of residents in recognition of their 
economic and ecological importance to the region. 

Regional Indicators 

1 . In 1 996, the Big Bend Salt Marsh comprised 46, 1 89 acres. 

2. In 1983, the Big Bend Seagrass Beds, extending to the jurisdictional limits of the State of 
Florida off Dixie and Taylor counties, were comprised of 1,781,670 acres of Dense Seagrass, 
92,320 acres of Patchy Seagrass, and 208,980 acres of Sparse Seagrass. 105 



105 Tim Leary, Florida Marine Research Institute, March, 1996. According to the Dick Sargent, Assistant 
Research Scientist at the Institute, the 1983 data represents the best available information regarding the aerial extent 
of the Big Bend Seagrass Beds. A new study currently underway will map the Big Bend Seagrass Beds based upon 
aerial photo-interpretation which will be done by the National Biological Service using December 1991 1:24,000 
natural color aerial photos. The new seagrass classification system will consist of "continuous" and "patchy" 
categories. Patchy will break down into 4 classifications of percent of cover. The 1983 data will not be directly 
comparable to the 1991 data as the older study used a combination of aerial photos and diver tows/transects to map 

IV-49 
amended August 28, 1997 



3. In 1996, the Florida Middle Ground comprised 132,000 acres. 

Policy 4.1.1. Use non-structural water management controls as the preferred water management 
approach for the coastal areas of the region. 

Policy 4.1.2. Provide technical assistance to local governments in ensuring the preservation of the 
region's coastal and marine resources through their local planning processes. 

Policy 4.13. Minimize the need for excavating and/or filling of the region's coastal wetlands and 
ensure impacts are mitigated where such activity occurs. 

Policy 4.1.4. Minimize the impacts of development activities which occur within and/or adjacent 
to the coastal wetlands. 

Policy 4.1.5. Remove the Big Bend Seagrass Beds, the Florida Middle Ground, and a 100-mile 
buffer area off the Dixie and Taylor counties from the federal government list of areas available for 
oil, gas, and mineral leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. 

Policy 4.1.6. Minimize the need for establishing new channels and maintenance dredging of existing 
channels within the seagrass beds and mitigate impacts where such activity occurs. 

Policy 4.1.7. Coordinate land use and water resources planning for coastal and marine resources 
designated as natural resources of regional significance among the Council, local governments, and 
the water management districts through regional review responsibilities, participation in committees 
and study groups, and ongoing communication. 

Policy 4.1.8. Assist in environmental education efforts to increase public awareness of the region's 
coastal and marine resources through the North Central Florida Tourism Task Force. 

Policy 4.1.9. Establish a secondary wastewater treatment plant to service the unincorporated Dixie 
County community of Suwannee. 



those seagrasses not visible on aerial photos The new study will only map habitat which is directly visible from aerial 
photos. 

IV-50 
amended August 28, 1997 



♦ 






GROUND WATER RESOURCES 

FLORID AN AQUIFER 

AREAS OF HIGH RECHARGE POTENTIAL TO THE FLORID AN AQUIFER 

ICHETUCKNEE TRACE 

STREAM-TO-SINK WATERSHEDS — 

SINKS 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.2. Maintain an adequate supply of high-quality groundwater to meet the 
needs of north central Florida residents, in recognition of its importance to the continued growth and 
development of the region. 

Regional Indicators 

1 . In 1 996, the quantity of potable water contained in the Floridan Aquifer underlying the north 
central Florida region, it's average daily recharge and discharge, were unknown. 

2. In 1 990, 242. 1 mgd of water was withdrawn from north central Florida ground water sources. 

Policy 4.2.1. Ensure that state policy is adopted which would require water shortage areas to 
establish other alternatives, such as desalinization, prior to the interbasin transfer of water to serve 
their needs. 

Policy 4.2.2. Continue to develop information on the ground water resources of the region. 

Policy 4.23. Continue to increase the region's knowledge of the relationship between ground and 
surface waters, the surface water needs of native species and natural systems, including minimum 
flows necessary to the survival of native species and natural systems. 

Policy 4.2.4. Provide technical assistance to local governments in developing strategies in their local 
planning and land development regulations processes which can be used in addressing known water 
quantity, quality or recharge problem areas within their jurisdictions. 

Policy 4.2.5. Coordinate land use and water resources planning for ground water resources 
designated as natural resources of regional significance among the Council, local governments, and 
the water management districts through regional review responsibilities, participation in committees 
and study groups, and ongoing communication. 

Policy 4.2.6. Assist in environmental education efforts to increase public awareness of the region's 
ground water resources through the North Central Florida Tourism Task Force. 

Policy 4.2.7. Identify and map the capture zones of all public water supply wellfields. 



a 



IV-51 
amended August 28, 1997 



Policy 4.2.8. Provide technical assistance to local governments in implementing wellfield protection 
programs based upon capture zones delineated by either the Florida Department of Environmental 
Protection or the local water management districts when such information becomes available. 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.3. Protect all sources of recharge to the Floridan aquifer from all activities 
which would impair these functions or cause a degradation in the quality of the -water being 
recharged in recognition of the importance of maintaining adequate supplies of high-quality 
groundwater for the region. 

Regional Indicators 

1. In 1996, Areas of High Recharge Potential to the Floridan Aquifer identified as a natural 
resource of regional significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan 
comprised 1,066,051 acres. 

2. In fiscal year 1993-94, there were 167,135 visitors to Ichetucknee Springs State Park. 

4. In 1996, 209,056 acres of stream-to-sink recharge areas were designated as natural resources 
of regional significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

5. In 1 996, five sinks were designated as natural resources of regional significance in the North 
Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

Policy 4.3.1. Coordinate the mapping of high recharge areas in order to assure consistency in 
identification of such areas near district boundaries. 

Policy 4.3.2. Update the regional map series delineating Areas of High Recharge Potential to the 
Floridan Aquifer with a map series depicting High Recharge Areas of the Floridan Aquifer when the 
latter information becomes available. 

Policy 4.3.3. Pursue a regulatory environment consisting of the minimum regulatory burden 
necessary for the maintenance of the quantity and quality of groundwater recharge inof Areas of High 
Recharge Potential to the Floridan Aquifer, Ichetucknee Trace, Stream-to-Sink Watersheds and 
Sinks identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

Policy 4.3.4. Assist state and local agencies in developing and implementing strategies for the 
protection of the Ichetucknee Trace so that activities occurring within the Trace do not adversely 
impact the water quality and flow of surface waters within Ichetucknee Springs State Park. 

Policy 4.3.5. Provide technical assistance to local governments in the development and 
implementation of appropriate local government comprehensive plan policies and land development 
regulations necessary to maintaining the quantity and quality of ground water recharge in Areas of 
High Recharge Potential to the Floridan Aquifer, Stream-to-Sink Watersheds, and Sinks. 



IV-52 

amended August 28, 1997 



Policy 4.3.6. Ensure that local government comprehensive plans, DRIs, and requests for federal and 
state funds for development activities reviewed by the Council include adequate provisions for 
stormwater management and aquifer recharge protection in order to protect the quality and quantity 
of water contained in the Floridan Aquifer. 

Policy 4.3.7. Work with the water management districts to develop and apply coordinated review 
procedures and criteria for reviewing ground water issues related to developments of regional 
impact, federally-assisted projects, local plan amendments and revisions, local comprehensive plan 
evaluation and appraisal reports, and local comprehensive plan intergovernmental coordination 
elements. 

Policy 43.8. Minimize the effect of mining activities on water quality and quantity of the Floridan 

Aquifer. 

NATURAL SYSTEMS 
LISTED SPECIES 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.4. Protect all listed species located in north central Florida. 
Regional Indicators 

1 . As of January, 1 997, the Florida Natural Areas Inventory Element Occurrence Database 
contains 539 locations within the region of sightings of listed plant and animal species. 

2. As of January, 1997, 52 listed species exist in north central Florida. 

Policy 4.4.1. Work with local governments and the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish 
Commission to ensure the survival of all listed species found in the region. 

Policy 4.4.2. Increase citizen awareness on the effects of human activities on listed species. 

Policy 4.4.3. Coordinate planning efforts to protect listed species found within the region. 

Policy 4.4.4. Endangered and threatened species and their habitats shall be protected. 

Policy 4.4.5. When a land use designation change is proposed or an increase in allowable land use density 
or intensity is proposed, species of special concern, and their habitat, known to exist on site shall be protected. 
Protection should include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following: 

a) conservation easement; 

b) on and offsite mitigation banks; 

c) tax breaks; 

d) transferable densities; 

e) management agreements; and, 



1 



IV-53 
amended August 28, 1997 



f) agriculture and silviculture best management practices. 

Policy 4.4.6. Working with private property owners, encourage voluntary protection of listed 
species and their habitat located on private property through the use of best management practices 
and public education programs. 

Policy 4.4.7. Provide technical assistance to local governments in the development of appropriate 
local government comprehensive plan policies and land development regulations necessary to 
maintain the identified attributes of listed species and their habitat. 

Policy 4.4.8. Direct those land uses that are not consistent with the protection and maintenance of 
listed species and their habitats away from such resources. 

Policy 4.4.9. Support agricultural and silvicultural practices that maintain the function and value 
of natural systems through the use of best management practices. 

Policy 4.4.10. Detailed surveys and/or specific site assessments for listed plant and animal species, 
as well as habitat used by listed species shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 9J-2.041, Florida 
Administrative Code, for developments undergoing regional review as a Development of Regional 
Impact in order to evaluate the impacts of such developments on said species and habitats. 

PLANNING AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AREAS 

PRIVATE CONSERVATION LANDS 

PUBLIC CONSERVATION LANDS 

SURFACE WATER IMPROVEMENT MANAGEMENT WATERBODIES 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.5. Protect natural resources of regional significance identified in this plan 
as "Planning and Resource Management Areas." 

Regional Indicators 

1 . In 1 996, north central Florida contained 3,993 acres of private conservation lands recognized 
as natural resources of regional significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional 
Policy Plan . 

2. In 1996, north central Florida contained 119,442 acres of federally-owned conservation 
lands. 

3. In 1996, north central Florida contained 120,405 acres of state-owned conservation lands. 

4. In 1996, north central Florida contained 68,085 acres of water management district-owned 
conservation lands. 



IV-54 
amended August 28, 1997 



! 



5. In 1996, 18 north central Florida waterbodies were identified as SWIM waterbodies. 

Policy 4.5.1. Provide technical assistance to local governments in the development of appropriate 
local government comprehensive plan policies and land development regulations necessary to 
mamtaining areas and water bodies identified as natural resources of regional significance classified 
in this plan as "Planning and Resource Management Areas. 

Policy 4.5.2. Seek the input of local governments and the regional planning council in the 
preparation of management plans for public conservation lands, private conservation lands, and 
SWIM water bodies identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

Policy 4.5.3. Continue to provide input to state and local agencies in reviewing existing or 
proposed designations of areas or water bodies as one of the categories identified as natural 
resources of regional significance classified in this plan as "Planning and Resource Management 
Areas". 

SURFACE WATER SYSTEMS 

FRESH WATER WETLANDS 

LAKES 

RIVER CORRIDORS 

SPRINGS 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.6. Maintain the quantity and quality of the region's surface water systems 
in recognition of their importance to the continued growth and development of the region. 

Regional Indicators 

1. In 1996, 1,103,391 acres of fresh water wetland were identified as a natural resource of 
regional significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

2. In 1996, 10 north central Florida lakes were identified as natural resources of regional 
significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

3. In 1996, 1 1 river corridors were designated as natural resources of regional significance in 
the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

4. In 1996, 210,290 acres of river corridor were designated as natural resources of regional 
significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

5. In 1996, 50 springs were designated as natural resources of regional significance in the North 
Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 



IV-55 
amended August 28, 1997 



Policy 4.6.1. Pursue a regulatory environment consisting of the minimum regulatory burden 
necessary for the maintenance of the quantity and high quality of the region's surface water systems. 

Policy 4.6.2. Provide technical assistance to local governments in the development and 
implementation of appropriate local government comprehensive plan policies and land development 
regulations necessary to mamtaining the quantity and high quality of the region's surface water 
systems. 

Policy 4.6.3. Continue the mapping of river floodplains. 

Policy 4.6.4. Update the regional map series delineating river floodplains as this information 
becomes available. 

Policy 4.6.5. Work with north central Florida local governments to standardize on a common source 
for wetland maps contained in local government comprehensive plans. 

Policy 4.6.6. Use non-structural water management controls as the preferred water management 
approach for rivers, lakes, springs, and fresh water wetlands identified as natural resources of 
regional significance. 

Policy 4.6.7. Support the coordination of land use and water resources planning for surface water 
resources designated as natural resources of regional significance among the Council, local 
governments, and the water management districts through regional review responsibilities, 
participation in committees and study groups, and ongoing communication. 

Policy 4.6.8. Assist in environmental education efforts to increase public awareness of the region's 
surface water systems through the North Central Florida Tourism Task Force. 

Policy 4.6.9. Establish and enforce consistent boating safety zones along the Suwannee and Santa 
Fe rivers. 

Policy 4.6.10. Assist local governments in establishing consistent regulations for development 
projects within river corridors identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

Policy 4.6.11. Identify and map the capture zones of all springs identified as natural resources of 
regional significance. Once delineated, provide technical assistance to local governments in 
implementing spring protection programs based upon capture zones. 

Policy 4.6.12. Provide technical assistance to local governments in obtaining grants to establish 
centralized sewer systems in identified septic tank problem areas. 



IV-56 
amended August 28, 1997 



Policy 4.6.13. Ensure that local government comprehensive plans, DRIs, and requests for federal 
I and state funds for development activities reviewed by the Council include adequate provisions for 

stormwater management, including retrofit programs for known surface water runoff problem areas, 
and aquifer recharge protection in order to protect the quality and quantity of water contained in the 
Floridan Aquifer and surface water systems identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

Policy 4.6.14. Work with local governments, state and federal agencies, and the local water 
management districts in the review of local government comprehensive plans and developments of 
regional impact as they affect wetlands identified as natural resources of regional significance to 
ensure that any potential adverse impacts created by the proposed activities on wetlands are 
minimized to the greatest extent possible. 

Policy 4.6.15. Minimize the effect of mining on the surface water quality and seasonal flows of 
surface waters identified as natural resources of regional significance. 



% 



IV-57 
amended August 28, 1997 






REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION 



♦ 



» 



STRATEGIC REGIONAL SUBJECT AREA: 
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION 

CONDITIONS AND TRENDS STATEMENT . 

INTRODUCTION 

The region is served by four public transit system service providers, two major and three 
shuttle/commuter air carriers, one passenger and three freight rail systems, one bus line, and the 
regional road network. Due to its rural nature, north central Florida is heavily dependent upon 
automobile and truck transportation. Generally, the existing motor vehicle ground transportation and 
rail freight transportation systems are adequate. 

PUBLIC TRANSIT 

Public transit is lightly utilized in north central Florida. The Gainesville Regional Transit System 
(RTS) is the region's only community with a fixed-route public transit system. Paratransit services 
are available throughout the region and is provided by Big Bend Transit, Inc., the Tri-County 
Council for Senior Citizens, and Suwannee Valley Transit Authority. The RTS also provides 
paratransit services in Alachua County. Intercity bus transportation is provided by Greyhound Bus 
Lines. The carrier stops in the following north central Florida municipalities: Gainesville, Waldo 
(flag stop), Starke, Lake City, Cross City (flag stop), Fanning Springs (flag stop), Greenville (flag 
stop), Madison, Live Oak, and Perry. 107 

The region's rural character and low population density does not easily lend itself to the provision 
of public transit systems. Correspondingly, only a small percentage of the region's population use 
public transit. As indicated in Table 5.1 only 2.0 percent of 1990 north central Florida workers age 
16 and over reported using public transportation as their means of transportation to work. Alachua 
County, which includes Gainesville's fixed-route bus system, had the highest percentage of workers 
using public transit at 1 .8 percent. Bradford County reported the lowest usage at 0.0 percent. The 
table also reveals a decline in public transit usage between 1980 and 1990. Not only is the 1990 
usage rate lower than the 1980 rate of 2.9 percent, the region has experienced a decline in the 
absolute number of workers using public transit, dropping from 2,014 in 1980 to 1,729 in 1990. 



Greyhound Bus Lines, Inc., March 1996. Flag stops are non-terminal stops which typically occur along the 
side of the road at a designated location. 

V-l 



TABLE 5.1 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA RESIDENTS USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AS 

PRIMARY MEANS OF TRAVEL TO WORK 
WORKERS, AGE 16 AND OVER 





Number of Workers 
Age 16 and Over 


Number Using Public 
Transportation 


Percent Using Public 
Transportation 


Area 


1980 


1990 


1980 


1990 


1980 


1990 


Alachua 

Bradford 

Columbia 

Dixie 

Gilchrist 

Hamilton 

Lafayette 

Madison 

Suwannee 

Taylor 

Union 


64,241 
6,555 

14,030 
2,391 
2,069 
3,031 
1,430 
5,290 
8,182 
6,491 
2,459 


83,897 
8,278 

17,323 
3,223 
3,504 
3,723 
2,083 
5,986 

10,289 
6,718 
3,283 


1,694 



144 

2 

1 

19 

6 

18 

65 

56 

9 


1,510 


52 
13 

4 
34 


36 
21 
54 

7 


2.4 
0.0 
0.4 
0.5 
0.2 
1.1 
0.0 
0.7 
0.3 
0.8 
0.3 


1.8 
0.0 
0.3 
0.4 
0.1 
0.9 
0.0 
0.6 
0.2 
0.8 
0.2 


Region 
State 


116,169 

3,987,407 


148,307 

5,794,452 


2,014 
106,546 


1,729 
115,889 


1.5 
2.9 


1.2 
2.0 



Source: Florida Statistical Abstract . 1984 and 1994, Table 13.01. 



V-2 



PARATRANSIT SERVICES AND THE TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED 

Paratransit services for the transportation disadvantaged are available in all north central Florida 
counties. These systems operate as a part of Florida's transportation disadvantaged program. The 
purpose of the program is to provide transportation services to the transportation disadvantaged in 
a manner that is cost-effective, efficient, and reduces fragmentation and duplication of services. 108 

Transportation services for the transportation disadvantaged are provided through the systems using 
a variety of vehicles, including mini-buses, bans, mini-vans and automobiles. Many of the vehicles 
used are specially equipped to serve the needs of the disabled and public transit riders. Coordinated 
transportation systems which receive government public transit grants serve the general public, 
including the transportation disadvantaged general public. All of the coordinated transportation 
systems in the region heavily rely upon local, state, and federal financial assistance. 

The Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (CTD) serves as the policy 
development and implementing agency for the state's transportation disadvantaged program. Major 
participants which implement the program at the county level include: 

The Official Planning Agency, an MPO or designated entity which performs long-range 
transportation disadvantaged planing and assists the CTD and the Local Coordinating Board 
in implementing the transportation disadvantaged program within a designated service area; 

The Local Coordinating Board, a group with a diverse membership appointed by the Official 
Planning Agency which identifies local service needs, advises the Community Transportation 
Coordinator on the coordination of services, and serves as an advisory body to the CTD in 
its designated service area; 

The Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC), a public, private non-profit, or private 
for-profit entity functioning as a sole provider, partial brokerage or complete brokerage 
which is responsible for, among other things, the delivery of transportation disadvantaged 
services originating in its designated service area; 

Purchasers of transportation services such as the Florida Agency for Health Care 
Administration for Medicaid trips; and 



108 

The transportation disadvantaged are those persons who, due to physical or mental disability, income status, or 
age are unable to transport themselves or to purchase transportation and are, therefore, dependent upon others to 
obtain access to health care, employment, education, shopping, social activities, or other life-sustaining activities, or 
children who are handicapped or high risk or at-risk as defined in s.41 1.202, FJL (427.01 1(1), FJL (1993)). 

V-3 



Transportation operators, which are either public, private non-profit, or private for-profit 
entities which contract with a partial or complete brokerage CTC to provide transportation 
services within a coordinated transportation system. 

Table 5.2 identifies the Official Planning Agency, Local Coordinating Board, and Community 
Transportation Coordinator for each of the counties within the region. The transportation services 
provided or arranged by CTCs include program trips subsidized by government or social services 
agencies and general trips subsidized by state Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund 
trip/equipment grants or other sources. A general trip is one made by a transportation disadvantaged 
person or member of the general public to a destination of his or her choice. A program trip is one 
made by a client of a government or social service agency for the purpose of participating in a 
program of that agency. Examples include Medicaid, congregate meal, day training and day 
treatment program trips. Examples include medical, shopping, employment, and social/recreational 
trips. As can be seen in Table 5.2, the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council directly 
serves as the official planning agency for nine of the region's counties. The Metropolitan 
Transportation Planning Organization for the Gainesville Urbanized Area is the official planning 
agency for Alachua County and is staffed by the Council. 109 



109 See Coordination Outline, page VII-5, for additional information regarding the MTPO and the transportation 
disadvantaged program. 

V-4 



* 



TABLE 5.2 



NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED PROGRAMS 







COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION 


AREA 


PLANNING AGENCY 


COORDINATORS 


Alachua 


Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the 


Coordinated Transportation System 




Gainesville Urbanized Area 


2711 NW 6th St. Ste. B 




2009 N W 67 Place, Ste. A 


Gainesville, FL 32609 




Gainesville, FL 32653-1603 


(full brokerage) 




352/955-2200 




Bradford 


North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 


Suwannee River Economic Council 




2009 N W 67 Place, Sle A 


P.O. Box 70 




Gainesville. FL 32653-1603 


Live Oak, FL 32060 




352/955-2200 


904/362-4115 
(partial brokerage) 


Columbia 


North Centra] Florida Regional Planning Council 


Suwannee Valley Transit Authority 




2009 NW 67 Place, Ste A 


1907 Voyles St 




Gainesville, FL 32653-1603 


Live Oak, FL 32060 




352/955-2200 


904/362-5332 
(partial brokerage) 


Dixie 


North Central Flonda Regional Planning Council 


Tri-County Council for Senior Citizens 




2009 N W 67 Place. Ste A 


P O Box 1037 




Gainesville. FL 32653-1603 


Chiefland, FL 32626 




352/955-2200 


352/493-6700 
(partial brokerage) 


Gilchrist 


North Central Flonda Regional Planning Council 


Tri-County Council for Senior Citizens 




2009 NW 67 Place, Ste A 


PO Box 1037 




Gainesville. FL 32653-1603 


Chiefland, FL 32626 




352/955-2200 


352/493-6700 
(partial brokerage) 


Hamilton 


North Central Flonda Regional Planning Council 


Suwannee Valley Transit Authority 




2009 NW 67 Place, Ste A 


1907 Voyles St 




Gainesville, FL 32653-1603 


Live Oak, FL 32060 




352/955-2200 


904/362-5332 
(partial brokerage) 


Lafayette 


North Central Flonda Regional Planning Council 


Suwannee River Economic Council 




2009 N W 67 Place, Ste A 


PO Box 70 




Gainesville, FL 32653-1603 


Live Oak, FL 32060 




352/955-2200 


904/362-4115 
(sole provider) 


Madison 


North Central Flonda Regional Planning Council 


Big Bend Transit, Inc 




2009 N W 67 Place, Ste A 


PO Box 1721 




Gainesville, FL 32653-1603 


Tallahassee. FL 32302 




352/955-2200 


904/222-4160 
(partial brokerage) 


Suwannee 


North Central Flonda Regional Planning Council 


Suwannee Valley Transit Authority 




2009 NW 67 Place, Ste A 


1907 Voyles St 




Gainesville. FL 32653-1603 


Live Oak, FL 32060 




352/955-2200 


904/362-5332 
(partial brokerage) 


Taylor 


Taylor County Board of County Commissioners 


Big Bend Transit Inc. 




PO Box 620 


PO Box 1721 




Perry, FL 32347 


Tallahassee, FL 32302 




904/838-3500 


904/222-4160 
(partial brokerage) 


Union 


North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 


A & A Transport 




2009 NW 67 Place, Ste A 


55 North Lake Ave. 




Gainesville. FL 32653-1603 


Lake Butler, FL 32054 




352/955-2200 


904/496-2008 
(sole provider) 



Source: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, March 1996. 



V-5 



According to the CTD Florida Five Year Transportation Disadvantaged Plan. 1992-1996 . the state's 
transportation disadvantaged program serves two population groups. The first group, the "TD 
Category I" population, includes disabled, elderly, and low-income persons and "high-risk" or "at- 
risk" children. These individuals are eligible for government and social service agency programs 
based on their demographic status. They are also eligible to receive agency subsidies for program 
and general trips. The second group, the "TD Category II" population, includes individuals who are 
transportation disadvantaged according to the guidelines in Chapter 427, F.S.. (i.e., unable to 
transport themselves or purchase transportation) and are therefore eligible to receive TDTF subsidies 
for non-sponsored general trips. The TD Category II population is a subset of the TD category I 
population. 

Table 5.3 presents 1995 to 2000 TD Category I and TD Category II population forecasts for north 
central Florida counties and the region as a whole. Forecasted annual rates of increase between 1995 
and 2000 in the TD Category I population range from 19.0 percent for Gilchrist County to 3.9 
percent for Madison County. Forecasted rates of increase in the TD Category II population range 
from 18.4 percent for Gilchrist County to 3.7 percent for Taylor County. 

TABLE 5.3 

PROJECTED TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED POPULATION 



Area/Group 


1995 


1996 


1997 


1998 


1999 


2000 


Percent Increase, 1995-2000 


Alachua 
















TD Category I 


74,437 


75.500 


76,577 


77,670 


78,779 


79,904 


73 


TD Category II 


8,868 


8,996 


9,126 


9,258 


9,392 


9,528 


74 


Bradford 
















TD Category I 


9,213 


9,301 


9,389 


9,478 


9,568 


9,658 


48 


TD Category n 


2,593 


2,617 


2,641 


2,666 


2,690 


2,715 


4.7 


Columbia 
















TD Category I 


20,842 


21,373 


21.921 


22,486 


23,068 


23,669 


136 


TD Category II 


6,374 


6,525 


6,682 


6.842 


7,008 


7,179 


126 


Diiie 
















TD Category I 


6,704 


6.885 


7,072 


7,265 


7,463 


7.667 


144 


TD Category II 


1,794 


1,840 


1,887 


1,935 


1,985 


2,036 


135 


Gilchrist 
















TD Category 1 


4,718 


4.884 


5,057 


5,236 


5,421 


5,614 


190 


TD Category II 


1,487 


1.538 


1.591 


1,645 


1,702 


1,760 


184 


Hamilton 
















TD Category I 


5,567 


5,722 


5,882 


6.047 


6,217 


6.392 


148 


TD Category II 


1.841 


1,894 


1,950 


2.007 


2,066 


2,126 


15.5 



V-6 



I 



TABLE 5.3, Cont'd. 
PROJECTED TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED POPULATION 



Area/Group 


1995 


1996 


1997 


1998 


1999 


2000 


Percent Increase, 
1995-2000 


Lafayette 
















TD Category 1 


2,700 


2,749 


2,800 


2,852 


2.905 


2,960 


9.6 


TD Category II 


756 


769 


782 


795 


808 


822 


8.7 


Madison 
















TD Category 1 


8,232 


8,295 


8,358 


8,422 


8,487 


8,552 


3.9 


TD Category II 


2,748 


2,771 


2,793 


2,816 


2,839 


2,862 


4.1 


Suwannee 
















TD Category 1 


13,277 


13,454 


13,685 


13,920 


14,159 


14,402 


85 


TD Category II 


3,411 


3.468 


3,526 


3.585 


3.645 


3,705 


8.6 


Taylor 
















TD Category I 


7,496 


7,556 


7,617 


7,678 


7,740 


7,802 


4.1 


TD Category II 


2,089 


2,104 


2,119 


2.135 


2,150 


2,166 


3.7 


Union 
















TD Category 1 


3,899 


3,967 


4,037 


4,108 


4.181 


4,256 


92 


TD Category II 


1,339 


1,361 


1,384 


1,408 


1,432 


1,456 


87 


Region 
















TD Category I 


157,085 


159.686 


162,395 


165.162 


167,988 


170,876 


88 


TD Category II 


33,300 


33.883 


34,481 


35.092 


35,717 


36,355 


9.2 



Sources: Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Populations by Arc Sex and Race for Florida and its Counties. 1994-2010 (July 1995). CUTK Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting 

TD Population Demand at the County Level (May 1993) 

These forecasts were prepared using the CLTTR methodology guidelines cited above 



Table 5.4 compares the 1995 and 2000 TD Category I and II population forecasts to the estimated 
and projected year 1995 and 2000 populations for north central Florida counties. It indicates that 
TD Category I populations range from a high of 54.1 percent of total county population in Dixie 
County to a low of 30.2 percent in Union County. It also indicates that the year 2000 percentage will 
be about the same as in 1995, ranging from a high of 54.8 percent of total county population in Dixie 
County to a low of 30.8 percent in Union County. TD Category II 1995 populations range from a 
high of 15.3 percent in Madison County to a low of 4.5 percent in Alachua County. As with 
Category I, the year 2000 Category II percentage of total population will be roughly the same as in 
1995, ranging from 15.2 percent in Madison County to 4.5 percent in Alachua County. 



V-7 



TABLE 5.4 

TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED POPULATION AS PERCENTAGE OF 

TOTAL POPULATION 



Area/ Group 


1995 
Population 
Estimates 


1995 TD 
Population 
Forecasts 


%TD 


2000 
Population 
Projections 


2000 TD 
Population 
Forecasts 


%TD 


Alachua 


197,879 






210,903 






TD Category I 




74,437 


37.6 




79,904 


37.9 


TD Category II 




8,868 


4.5 




9,528 


4.5 


Bradford 


24,494 






25,598 






TD Category I 




9,213 


37.6 




9,658 


37.7 


TD Category II 




2,593 


10.6 




2,715 


10.6 


Columbia 


50,000 






54,701 






TD Category I 




20,842 


41.7 




23,669 


43.3 


TD Category II 




6,374 


12.7 




7,179 


13.1 


Dixie 


12,399 






13,998 






TD Category I 




6,704 


54.1 




7,667 


54.8 


TD Category II 




1,794 


14.5 




2,036 


14.5 


Gilchrist 


11,898 






13,900 






TD Category I 




4,718 


39.7 




5,614 


40.4 


TD Category II 




1,487 


12.5 




1,760 


12.7 


Hamilton 


12,200 






14,200 






TD Category I 




5,567 


45.6 




6,392 


45.0 


TD Category II 




1,841 


15.1 




2126 


15.0 


Lafayette 


6,397 






6,902 






TD Category I 




2,700 


42.2 




2,960 


42.9 


TD Category II 




756 


11.8 




822 


11.9 


Madison 


18,004 






18,798 






TD Category I 




8,232 


45.7 




8,552 


45.5 


TD Category II 




2,748 


15.3 




2,862 


15.2 


Suwannee 


29,792 






32,298 






TD Category I 




13,277 


44.6 




14,402 


44.6 


TD Category II 




3,411 


11.4 




3,705 


11.5 



V-8 



TABLE 5.4, Cont'd. 

TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED POPULATION AS PERCENTAGE OF 

TOTAL POPULATION 



Area/ Group 


1995 
Population 
Estimates 


1995 TD 
Population 
Forecasts 


%TD 


2000 
Population 
Projections 


2000 TD 
Population 
Forecasts 


%TD 


Taylor 


18,301 






18,900 






TD Category I 




7,496 


41.0 




7,802 


41.3 


TD Category II 




2,089 


11.4 




2,166 


11.5 


Union 


12,902 






13,803 






TD Category I 




3,899 


30.2 




4,256 


30.8 


TD Category II 




1,339 


10.4 




1,456 


10.5 


Region 


394266 






424001 






TD Category I 




157085 


39.8 




170876 


40.3 


TD Category II 




33300 


8.4 




36355 


8.6 



Sources: Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Populations by Age. Sex and Race for Florida and its Counties. 1 994-20 1 (July 1995); CUTR, 
Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting TD Population Demand at the County Level (May 1993). 

These forecasts were prepared using the CUTR methodology guidelines cited above. 



Table 5.5 presents 1995 to 2000 general trip demand forecasts for north central Florida counties. 
They were computed by applying a trip rate of 1 .2 trips per month for rural areas to the TD Category 
II population forecasts included in Table 5.3. The trip rate was developed through a study of seven 
paratransit systems around the country which were meeting most or all of the trip demand in their 
service areas, were providing high levels of service and ad eligibility guidelines similar to those 
contained in Chapter 427, F.S. 110 Surveys on the trip purposes of transportation disadvantaged 
persons in other U.S. paratransit systems indicate that approximately 35.0 percent of the general trips 
taken are medical trips, 20.0 percent are work or educational trips, 10.0 percent are shopping trips, 
and 35.0 percent are social, recreational, and other trips. 111 



no, 



Rural areas include counties without an FTA Section 9 operator. The rate developed for urban areas is 1 .0 
trips per month. See Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida, Florida Five Year 
Transportation Disadvantaged Plan. 1992-1996 . June 1992. Prepared for the Florida Transportation Disadvantaged 
Commission and the Florida Department of Transportation. 



in 



Center for Urban Transportation Research, 1992. 



V-9 



TABLE 5.5 
PROJECTED TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED GENERAL TRIP DEMAND 



Area 


1995 


1996 


1997 


1998 


1999 


2000 


Alachua 


319,481 


324,441 


329,480 


334,601 


339,804 


345,091 


Bradford 


64,967 


65,824 


66,694 


67,577 


68,473 


69,382 


Columbia 


169,037 


174,029 


179,174 


184,476 


189,941 


195,573 


Dixie 


32,091 


33,104 


34,154 


35,243 


36,370 


37,539 


Gilchrist 


26,502 


27,203 


27,936 


28,704 


29,506 


30,345 


Hamilton 


65,407 


67,125 


68,889 


70,701 


72,560 


74,469 


Lafayette 


20,896 


21,376 


21,867 


22,370 


22,885 


23,413 


Madison 


69,689 


70,564 


71,452 


72,352 


73,266 


74,193 


Suwannee 


113,227 


115,422 


117,662 


119,948 


122,282 


124,664 


Taylor 


61,876 


62,556 


63,245 


63,943 


64,649 


65,364 


Union 


32,632 


33,652 


34,710 


35,809 


36,950 


38,135 


Region 


975805 


995296 


1015263 


1035724 


1056686 


1078168 



Sources: Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Populations by Age. Sex and Race for Florida and its Counties. 1 994-20 1 (July 1995); CUTR, 
Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting TD Population Demand at the County Level (May 1993). 

These forecasts were prepared using the CUTR methodology guidelines cited above. 

Table 5.6 provides actual FY 1995-96 and projected FY 1996-97 to 1999-2000 funding for the 
counties in the region. Most general trips made through coordinated transportation systems are 
provided using subsidies available through trip equipment grants. 112 These grants, which are 
administered by the CTD, roughly doubled in size in FY 1994-95 due to a $1.00 increase in the 
vehicle registration fee for the TDTF enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1 994. 



112 



Center for Urban Transportation Research, 1992. 



V-10 






TABLE 5.6 



FY 1995-1996 AND PROJECTED TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED 

TRUST FUND FUNDING 



Area 


1995-1996 Funding 
Allocation 


1996-1997 

Projected Funding 

Allocation 


1997-1998 

Projected Funding 

Allocation 


1998-1999 

Projected Funding 

Allocation 


1999-2000 

Projected Funding 

Allocation 


Alachua 


$362,218 


$414,919 


$419,168 


$423,417 


$427,666 


Bradford 


$62,627 


$68,456 


$69,608 


$70,403 


$71,199 


Columbia* 


$339,948 


$411,576 


$415,951 


$420,328 


$424,705 


Dixie 


$100,672 


$112,478 


$113,984 


$115,220 


$116,457 


Gilchrist** 


$246,107 


$267,557 


$270,287 


$273,018 


$275,748 


Hamilton* 


$339,948 


$411,576 


$415,951 


S420.328 


$424,705 


Lafayette 


$75,289 


$81,089 


$81,911 


$82,733 


$83,555 


Madison*** 


$851,633 


$927,684 


$937,023 


$946,363 


$955,702 


Suwannee* 


$339,948 


$411,576 


$415,951 


$420,328 


$424,705 


Taylor*** 


$851,633 


$927,684 


$937,023 


$946,363 


$955,702 


Union 


$51,696 


$55,670 


$56,265 


$56,860 


$57,454 



Source: Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged, Grants Program Distribution (November 17, 

* Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties' funding allocation combined. 

** Gilchrist and Levy Counties' funding allocation combined. 

*** Gadsden, Jefferson, Madison and Taylor Counties' funding allocation combined. 



1995). 



Even with the recent substantial increase, trip/equipment grant funding is not expected to meet more 
than a fraction of the demand for general trips in the region through the year 2000. Also, increasing 
pressure to use a part of the increased trip/equipment grant funding for program trips is complicating 
the funding situation. 113 

Some idea of the extent to which trip/equipment grant funding is meeting current demand for general 
trips in the region can be gleaned by performing the following computation: 

1995 Forecasted Demand for General Trips for Year (Table 5.5) - Estimated Number 
of General Trips to be Provided Using FY 1995-96 Trip/Equipment Grant Funding 
= Estimated 1995 Unmet Demand for General Trips. 



Using TDTF monies to replace existing funding for transportation disadvantaged services provided by any 
federal, state, or local government agency has been and continues to be prohibited by CTD rule. See Rule 41-2.013, 
F.A.C. 

V-ll 



Table 5.7 computes this formula for eight north central Florida counties. The estimated number of 
general trips to be provided using FY 1995-96 trip/equipment grant funding is equal to the grant 
amount for FY 1995-96 (Table 5.6) divided by the average cost per trip from the most recent year 
data are available (FY 1 993-94). m 

TABLE 5.7 

FY 1995-1996 AND PROJECTED TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED 

TRUST FUND FUNDING 



Area 


Average Cost per Trip 
(dollars) 


1995 Forecasted 
Demand for Trips 


Estimated No. of 

General Trips to be 

Provided Using FY 95- 

96 Trip/Equipment 

Grant Funding 


Estimated 1995 Unmet 

Demand for General 

Trips 


Alachua 


9.54 


319,481 


37,968 


281,513 


Bradford 


10.33 


64,967 


6,063 


58,904 


Columbia 


6.13 


169,037 


29,378 


139,659 


Dixie 


19.77 


32,091 


5,092 


26,999 


Gilchrist 


14.64 


26,502 


4,568 


21,934 


Hamilton 


6.13 


65,407 


7,542 


57,865 


Lafayette 


14.87 


20,896 


5,063 


15,833 


Madison 


7.29 


69,689 


22,547 


47,142 


Suwannee 


6.13 


113,227 


18,467 


94,760 


Taylor 


7.29 


61,876 


23,248 


38,628 


Union 


6.50 


32,632 


7,953 


24,679 


Region 


7.97 


975,805 


167,888 


807,917 



Source: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, March 1996. 

As can be seen in Table 5.7, the vast majority of 1995 estimated trip demand is not met through the 
TD program. The lack of funding for general trips results in the use of a variety of demand- 
regulating measures by coordinated transportation systems in the region. Examples of such measures 
in use for general trips subsidized by the TDTF trip/equipment grants include eligibility criteria, trip 
priorities, advance notice requirements, fares, and limited days and hours of service. Continued use 
of demand-regulating measures for general trips is anticipated. 



m This computation does not take into account possible changes in the configurations of transportation services 
offered and assumes no trip/equipment grant funding will be used to purchase equipment. 

V-12 






REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES 

Regionally significant transportation facilities are those facilities used to provide transportation 
between cities located both within and outside the region and other specially designated facilities. 
They include one airport, two interstate highways, nine U.S. highways, 25 state roads, 1 1 local roads 
designated as hurricane evacuation routes, and four public transit service providers. 115 

TABLE 5.8 

REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES 



Type 


Name 


Description 


Length 
(miles) 


Airport 


Gainesville Regional 
Airport 


Gainesville 


n/a 


Public Transit Service 
Provider 


Big Bend Transit, Inc. 


Designated coordinated community 
transportation provider for Madison and 
Taylor counties 


n/a 


Public Transit Service 
Provider 


Gainesville Regional 
Transit System 


Fixed-route public transit service provider 
for Gainesville and nearby urbanized, 
unincorporated Alachua County 


n/a 


Public Transit Service 
Provider 


Suwannee Valley Transit 
Authority 


Designated coordinated community 
transportation provider for Columbia, 
Hamilton, and Suwannee counties 


n/a 


Public Transit Service 
Provider 


Tri-County Council for 
Senior Services 


Designated coordinated community 
transportation provider for Dixie and 
Gilchrist counties 


n/a 


Regional Road Network - 
Interstate Highways 


1-75 


From Hamilton County line at the Georgia 
border to the Alachua County/Marion 
County line (FIHS) 


96 


Regional Road Network - 
Interstate Highways 


1-10 


From the Madison County/Jefferson County 
line to the Columbia County/Baker County 
line (FIHS) 


80.5 


Regional Road Network - 
Local Roads Used as 
Hurricane Evacuation Routes 


Dixie Co. Rd.. 317 


From terminus at unincorporated community 
ofOldTowntoUS 19/98 


2.5 



115, 



North central Florida regionally significant facilities and resources, as defined in Rule 27E.005, F.A.C. . 
consist of Regionally Significant Emergency Preparedness Facilities identified in Table 3.2, Natural Resources of 
Regional Significance identified in Table 4. 1 , Regionally Significant Transportation Facilities identified in Table 
5.8, and Regionally Significant Facilities and Resources, identified in Section VI. 



V-13 



TABLE 5.8, Cont'd. 



REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES 



Type 


Name 


Description 


Length 
(miles) 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Dixie Co. Rd. 346A 


From terminus at 
unincorporated community of 
Old Town to Dixie Co. Rd. 349 


2.5 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Dixie Co. Rd. 349 


From unincorporated 
community of Suwannee to US 
19/98 


24 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Dixie Co. Rd. 351 


From terminus in Horseshoe 
Beach to US 19/98 


19.5 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Dixie Co. Rd. 357 


From terminus at Shired Island 
to Dixie Co. Rd. 351 


11 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Dixie Co. Rd. 358 


From terminus in 
unincorporated community of 
Jena to US 19/98 


8 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Dixie Co. Rd. 361 


From terminus near Big Grassy 
Island to Dixie Co. Rd. 358 


11.0 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Taylor Co. Rd. 356 


From terminus at Fenholloway 
River to US 19/98 


11.0 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Taylor Co. Rd. 361 


From US 19/98 to S.R 51 


37.0 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Taylor Co. Rd. 361A 


From Fish Creek to junction 
with Taylor Co. Rd. 361 


0.7 


Regional Road Network - Local 
Roads Used as Hurricane 
Evacuation Routes 


Taylor Co. Rd. 361 A 


From Spring Warrior Swamp to 
US 19/98 


16.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR2 


From Columbia Co. - Georgia 
border to Columbia Co. - Baker 
Co. line 


1.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR6 


Froml-lOtoU.S. 41 


1.5 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR 10A 


From US 90 to US 90 


4.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Road 


SR 14 


From 1-10 to SR 53 


5.5 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR 18 


From SR 121 toSR231 


4.5 



V-14 






TABLE 5.8, Cont'd. 
REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES 



Type 


Name 


Description 


Length 
(miles) 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR20 


From SR 26 to Alachua Co. - 
Putnam Co. line (FIHS) 


18.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR24 


Levy Co. - Alachua County line 
to US 441 


17.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR24 


From SR 26 to US 301 


14.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR26 


From US 19/98 to 1-75 (FIHS) 


34.5 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR26 


From 1-75 to Alachua Co. - 
Putnam Co. line 


22.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR26A 


From SR 26 to SR 26 


2.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR47 


From US 441 to US 129 


41.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR51 


From US 129 to terminus in 
unincorporated community of 
Steinhatchee 


53.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR53 


From Madison Co. - Georgia 
border to I- 10 


19.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR100 


From US 90 to Bradford Co. - 
Clay Co. line 


48.5 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR120 


From US 441 to SR 24 


2.5 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR 121 


From Union Co. - Baker Co. 
line to Alachua Co. - Levy Co. 
line 


60.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR 145 


From Madison Co. - Georgia 
border to SR 53 


16.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR222 


From 1-75 to SR 26 


14.5 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR226 


FromSR24toSR331 


2.3 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR231 


From Fl. Dept. of Corrections 
Lake Butler Receiving and 
Medical Center to SR 121 


3.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR235 


From US 441 to SR 121 


21.2 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR238 


From US 441 toSRIOO 


15.0 



V-15 



] TABLE 5.8, Cont'd. 

REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES 



( 



Type 


Name 


Description 


Length 
(miles) 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR247 


From US 129 to US 90 


15.5 - 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR329 


From SR 120 to SR 331 


4.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR331 


From 1-75 to SR 20 (FIHS) 


6.0 


Regional Road Network - State 
Roads 


SR349 


From US 27 to US 19/98 


24.5 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 19 


From Madison Co. - Jefferson 
Co. line to Gilchrist Co. - Levy 
Co. line (FIHS) 


82.0 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 27 


From intersection with US 19 at 
Perry to Alachua Co. - Levy Co. 
line 


96.0 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 41 


From Hamilton Co. - Georgia 
border to US 90 


41.5 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 90 


From Jefferson Co. - Madison 
Co. line to Columbia Co. - 
Baker County line 


91.0 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 98 


From Taylor Co. - Jefferson Co. 
line to intersection with US 19 
at Perry 


27.5 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 129 


From Hamilton Co. - Georgia 
border to Gilchrist Co. - Levy 
Co. line 


78.0 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 221 


From Madison Co. - Jefferson 
Co. line to Perry 


32.7 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 301 


From Bradford Co. - Clay Co. 
line to Alachua Co. - Marion 
Co. line (FIHS) 


50.5 


Regional Road Network - US 
Highways 


US 441 


From Columbia Co. - Georgia 
border to Alachua Co. - Marion 
Co. line 


69.5 



Source: North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, December 1995. 



V-16 






GAINESVILLE REGIONAL AIRPORT 

Gainesville Regional Airport provides commercial air carrier service to north central Florida. The 
airport was established in the mid- 1940s and is located in northeastern Gainesville. It is presently 
owned by the city of Gainesville, but ownership of the airport is being transferred to the Gainesville 
Airport Authority. The Gainesville Airport Authority oversees all aspects of airport operations. The 
Authority is composed of nine members, five of whom are appointed by the City of Gainesville, one 
by the Alachua County Commission, and three by the Governor. 

The airport is serviced by two major airlines and three smaller shuttle/commuter airlines. Along with 
providing service to north central Florida, it also serves nearby Marion, Levy, and neighboring 
counties to the south and east of the region. Other major airports providing air service to the region 
are Jacksonville International Airport, Tallahassee Municipal Airport, Tampa International Airport, 
and Orlando International Airport. 

The airport has one runway with the capacity to safely handle full-sized jet aircraft. The area to the 
east of the airport is most impacted by the noise, but population density under the flight path is low 
(four homes were affected by noise when a 1 ,000 foot runway extension was constructed in the late 
1 980s). Land to the west of the airport is expected to develop as urban uses, but both the City of 
Gainesville and Alachua County have adopted land use plans which assure compatible land uses in 
noise-sensitive areas near the airport. 

Airport usage declined slightly during the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1990, enplaned passengers at 
Gainesville Regional Airport decreased by 6.1 percent, from 177,104 in 1980 to 166,264 in 1990." 6 
However, airport usage is expected to increase over time as the region's population increases. 

The Multi-County Regional Airport Task Force was formed in 1987 to address the question of 
whether or not airport service could be improved by building a new airport located between the cities 
of Ocala (Marion County) and Gainesville. It was thought at the time that the combined market area 
of the two cities might be large enough to attract additional air carriers and more through flights than 
currently provided by Gainesville Regional Airport. The task force concluded that the combined 
market area was not large enough to attract a significant number of new flights and that the 1 74 
million dollar price tag for a new airport was prohibitive." 7 



* 



116 1982 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 13.92 and 1992 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 13.92, Bureau of 
Economic and Business Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl. 

Multi-County Regional Airport Task Force, Economic/Market Feasibility Study , pp. V-l - V-13, Aviation 
Planning Associates, Inc., Cincinnati, OH, January 1989. 

V-17 



PUBLIC TRANSIT SERVICE PROVIDERS 

BIG BEND TRANSIT, INC. 

Big Bend Transit operates a demand-response system of vans and mini-buses within Madison and 
Taylor counties. The service is provided to employment centers as well as to social service, health, 
medical, shopping, and recreational facilities. Intra- and inter-county transportation service is 
provided within/from each of the rural counties in the service area with an emphasis on inter-county 
service to Leon County, which provides a high concentration of employment opportunities and 
specialized medical services. Big Bend Transit, Inc., is the designated coordinated community 
transportation provider for Madison and Taylor counties. 

GAINESVILLE REGIONAL TRANSIT SYSTEM 

The Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) operates ten fixed main bus routes which serve the 
City of Gainesville and the adjacent surrounding urbanized area of Alachua County. The fixed route 
system operates on a radial pattern with seven of its ten routes originating at a downtown transfer 
point. The University of Florida contracts with RTS to provide campus shuttles. Seven buses shuttle 
students and University personnel between classes and from on-campus parking lots. RTS also 
provides mini-bus service. The mini-bus system provides demand-responsive destination-to- 
destination transportation service throughout Alachua County. Mini-bus service is provided through 
contractual arrangements with Coordinated Transportation Systems, Inc., of Alachua County. 

SUWANNEE VALLEY TRANSIT AUTHORITY 

Suwannee Valley Transit Authority (SVTA) offers a variety of transportation services within 
Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties. These range from a weekly service which brings rural 
residents to Jasper, Lake City, and Live Oak, to daily commuter runs which carry workers to several 
major employment locations. Other services provided by SVTA include the Gainesville Medical 
Bus which is a daily run which connects Jasper, Lake City, and Live Oak to regional medical 
facilities located in Gainesville. The SVTA also provides services to various human services 
agencies within its three-county area as well as charter services for groups needing special 
transportation requirements. The SVTA is the designated coordinated community transportation 
provider for Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties. 

TRI-COUNTY COUNCIL FOR SENIOR SERVICES, INC. 

Tri-County Council for Senior Services, Inc., provides demand-responsive paratransit services for 
senior citizens and is the designated coordinated community transportation provider for Dixie and 
Gilchrist counties. 



( 



V-18 






REGIONAL ROAD NETWORK 

The regional road network is comprised of interstate highways, U.S. highways, state roads, and 
county roads that serve as hurricane evacuation routes in Dixie and Taylor counties. Overall, the 
regional road network consists of 1,359 miles of roadways, of which 177 miles are comprised of 
interstate highways, 569 miles are U.S. highways, 470 miles are state roads, and 143 miles are local 
roads used as hurricane evacuation routes. 118 Additionally, 427.1 miles of the regional road network 
are designated as a part of the Florida Intrastate Highway System (FIHS). The regional road network 
provides good transportation service to the region. With the exception of a few specific segments 
in Gainesville, the largest municipality in the region, nearly all the regional road network operates 
at or above the minimum level of service standards contained within local government 
comprehensive plans. 

Chapter 163.3180, Florida Statutes , establishes concurrency requirements for local government 
comprehensive plans. Concurrency requires public facilities to be adequate to service new 
development. New development cannot occur which will drop roadways below the minimum 
operating level of service standard established by the local comprehensive plan. For the Florida 
Intrastate Highway System, the Florida Department of Transportation establishes minimum operating 
level of service (LOS) standards. These standards are incorporated into local comprehensive plans. 
Local comprehensive plans establish minimum LOS standards for all other roads. The level of 
service for a road segment is determined by the average travel speed a motorist can reasonably attain 
through the section. The 1985 highway capacity manual establishes five levels of service ranging 
from A (free-flowing traffic) to F (highly congested). 

In recognition of the high traffic congestion which occurs within certain high-density urban areas, 
the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has established another method of handling 
highly-congested traffic through the creation of Transportation Concurrency Management Areas 
(TCMA) in local comprehensive plans. Within a TCMA, higher levels of traffic are allowed in 
exchange for local government efforts to improve traffic flows. Planning options include, but are 
not limited to, the provision of public transit, bicycle lanes, the provision of amenities designed to 
encourage pedestrian traffic, the minimization of curb cuts, and the establishment of service roads. 
The level of allowable degradation to the road system is negotiated between DCA and the local 
government. 



I t Q 

University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research Florida Statistical Abstract 1993 
Transportation To Work, Gainesville, Fl.: The University Presses of Florida, 1993,. p. 388. 



V-19 



Development which impacts roadways operating below the minimum LOS standard can still occur 
provided the roadway is classified as Constrained or Backlogged in the local comprehensive plan. 
A Constrained roadway is one where it is infeasible to add lanes to meet current or future traffic 
needs due to physical, environmental, or policy constraints. Roadways designated as Constrained 
can operate at a lower level of service standard through a negotiated agreement between the local 
government and the Florida Department of Community Affairs. In order to designate a roadway as 
Constrained, DCA requires additional policies be included in the local government comprehensive 
plan circulation element which, typically, call for improvements to parallel roads, the installation of 
special turn lanes, and/or improvements to traffic signal timing." 9 A Backlogged roadway is an 
unconstrained facility operating at a level of service below adopted minimum LOS standards and not 
programmed for construction in the first three years of FDOT's adopted work program or the first 
three years of the five year schedule of improvements in the local plan's capital improvement 
element. 

A review of the comprehensive plans of the region's 44 local governments reveals a total of 65 
miles, 4.8 percent of the regional road network, may drop below the local government's adopted 
minimum level of service standard by the year 201 1 . These road segments are identified in Table 5.9. 
Some segments of the regional road network which may drop below the minimum standard are either 
being corrected or studies are in progress to determine the means by which the minimum standard 
can be restored. Table 5.10 identifies segments of the regional road network which are scheduled 
to be improved or for which studies are underway to determine what should be done to improve 
them. Of the 65 miles of regional road network identified as either currently operating or projected 
to operate below the minimum LOS standard, 35.9 miles roads are scheduled for lane additions, 1.3 
miles for widening and/or resurfacing, and 19.8 miles are under study. 



r 



119 Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the Gainesville Urbanized Area. Median Average 
Annual Daily Traffic Level of Service Report. North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, March, 1995. 

V-20 



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TABLE 5.10 
SCHEDULED REGIONAL ROAD NETWORK STUDIES & IMPROVEMENTS 



Area 


Road 


From 


To 


Length 
(miles) 


Description 


Starting 
Date 


Alachua 


1-75 


Alachua County - 
Marion County line 


Alachua County - 
Columbia County line 


36.0 


widening to six lanes 


• 1997 


Alachua 


SR20 


CR 329B 


U.S. 301 


11.2 


adding lanes 


1998 


Alachua 


SR26 


CR241 


end of curb & gutter 


2.3 


adding lanes 


1998 


Alachua 


SR26 


west of CR 241 


SR45 


7.0 


reconstruction and lane 
addition 


1998 


Alachua 


SR26 


Gilchrist County - 
Alachua County line 


Alachua County- Putnam 
County Line 


41.0 


PD & E Study 


1997 


Alachua 


SR26A 


SR26 


SR26 


2.0 


PD & E Study 


1997 


Alachua 


SR 121 


SR26 


NW 16th Ave. 


1.0 


PD & E Study 


unknown 


Alachua 


US 41 


south of Newberry 


High Springs 


14.5 


widening and 
resurfacing 


1999 


Bradford 


SR100 


Clay County - Bradford 
County line 


US 301 (Starke) 


12.0 


resurfaced 


1996 


Bradford 


US 301 


northern Starke city 
limit 


southern Starke city limit 


3.5 


PD &E Study 


unknown 


Columbia 


SR2 


Columbia County - 
Georgia border 


Columbia County - Baker 
county line 


1.0 


widening and 
resurfacing 


1996 


Columbia 


SR238 


US 441 


Columbia County - Union 
County line 


1.5 


resurfacing 


1996 


Columbia 


US 90 


Brown Road 


1-75 


2.0 


PD&E Study 


1999 


Columbia 


US 90 


Columbia County - 
Suwannee County line 


1-75 


7.5 


resurfacing 


1997 


Columbia 


US 90 


1-75 


SR247 


1.4 


additional lanes and 
reconstruction 


1999 


Columbia 
Hamilton 


1-75 


Alachua County - 
Columbia County line 


Hamilton County - 
Georgia border 


63.0 


widening to six lanes 


1999 


Columbia 

Madison 

Suwannee 


1-10 


Madison County - 
Jefferson County line 


Columbia County - Baker 
County line 


80.5 


repaving 


1998 


Dixie 


US 19 


Dixie County - Levy 
County line 


Dixie County - Taylor 
County line 


31.0 


PD & E Study 


unknown 


Dixie 


CR349 


U.S. 19/98 


terminus in uninc. town 
of Suwannee 


24.0 


resurfacing and 
widening 


2000 


Gilchrist 


US 129 


NE 5th Ave (Trenton) 


north of Carlton Street 


1.0 


resurfacing 


1996 


Hamilton 


US 41 


Jasper 


Alapaha River 


6.0 


resurfacing 


1997 



V-23 



TABLE 5.10, Cont'd. 
SCHEDULED REGIONAL ROAD NETWORK STUDIES & IMPROVEMENTS 



Area 


Road 


From 


To 


Length 
(miles) 


Description 


Starting 
Date 


Lafayette 


US 27 


Mayo city limits 


Lafayette County - 
Suwannee County line 


18.0 


resurfacing 


1998 


Madison 


SR53 


Madison County - 
Georgia border 


US 90 


13.0 


widening and 
resurfacing 


1999 


Madison 


US 19 


Madison County - 
Taylor County line 


Madison County - 
Jefferson County line 


5.8 


PD & E Study 


unknown 


Madison 


US 19 


Madison County - 
Taylor County line 


Madison County - 
Jefferson County line 


5.8 


resurfacing 


1998 


Suwannee 


US 90 


Suwannee County - 
Madison County line 


Live Oak city limits 


11.5 


widening & 
resurfacing 


1997 


Taylor 


US 19 


Taylor County - Dixie 
County line 


Taylor County - Madison 
County line 


22.5 


PD & E Study 


unknown 


Taylor 


US 19 


CR356 


Taylor County - Madison 
County line 


15.4 


resurfacing 


1999 


Taylor 


CR361 


SR51 


Keaton Beach 


22.0 


resurfacing 


2000 


Union 


SR238 


Union County - 
Columbia County line 


Lake Butler 


13.5 


widening and 
resurfacing 


1996 



Source: FDOT Five Year Work Program, FY 1995-96 Through FY 1999-2000. Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the 
Gainesville Urbanized Area, Year 2015 Needs and Cost Feasible Plan . PD & E Study project information from North Central 
Florida Regional Planning Council. 



UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA CAMPUS MASTER PLAN AND IMPACTS TO REGIONAL 
TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES 

Chapter 240.155, F.S. . requires the University of Florida to prepare a campus master plan to address 
the impacts of campus development on off-site public facilities. The data and analysis on which the 
plan is based must identify the projected impacts of campus development on off-site infrastructure. 
Campus master plans are required by chapter 240.155(5), F.S. T to be consistent with the State 
Comprehensive Plan and not to conflict with local government comprehensive plans. 

Florida Statutes also require the university and applicable local governments to enter into a campus 
development agreement. The agreement must identify any deficiencies in service which the 
proposed campus development will create or contribute and identify all improvements to facilities 
and services necessary to eliminate the identified deficiencies. Chapter 240. 1 55(1 3), F.S. . states that 
the Board of Regents is responsible for paying its fair share of the costs for removing deficiencies 
to affected services and facilities. Identification of the board's fair share must be included in the 
agreement. Once the campus development agreement is completed, all campus development may 



V-24 



I proceed without further review by the host local government provided such development is 
consistent with the adopted campus master plan and associated campus development agreement. 

The University of Florida draft campus master plan calls for an enrollment increase of approximately 
6,000 students, from a head count of 37,343 in 1993 to 43,520 in 2003. A carrying-capacity analysis 
included in the plan suggests that the campus can support an increase of 10,533 students, or a head 
count of approximately 47,500. 

In conjunction with increased enrollment, the plan calls for an expansion of on-campus housing 
facilities with the intent of increasing the number of beds by approximately 1,700 by 2004 plus, 
approximately, an additional 515 dwelling units at an unspecified date after year 2004. The 
university also proposes a net increase of approximately 6,045 parking spaces by 2004. All of the 
new parking spaces are proposed to be constructed on campus. Most will be constructed near the 
center of the campus. 

The proposed parking lots and garages are expected to be accessed primarily by Archer Road and 
SW 34th Street. This is expected to cause a significant increase in traffic congestion on two roads 
that are already congested. According to data contained in the campus master plan, four segments 
of the regional road network are projected to operate at level of service "F" by 2003. These 
segments are as follows: 



> 



1 . Newberry Road (SR 26A) from W University Ave. to S W 34th St; 

2. SW 13th Street (US 441) from W University Ave. to Museum Rd.; 

3. SW 13th Street (US 441) from Museum Rd. to SW Archer Rd.; and 

4. SW 34th Street (SR 121) from Hull Rd. to SW Archer Rd. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the Gainesville Urbanized Area (MTPO) 
conducts transportation planning activities for the Gainesville Urbanized Area. The urbanized area 
consists of the City of Gainesville and nearby unincorporated portions of Alachua County. The 
MTPO board of directors consists of five city and five county commissioners. 120 As such, the MTPO 
is the regional transportation planning organization for the Gainesville Urbanized Area. One of the 
MTPO's primary responsibilities is the preparation of a long-range transportation plan for the 
urbanized area known as the Year 2020 Transportation Plan . The plan addresses transportation 
problems and identifies strategies to reduce congestion and enhance mobility. 



The MTPO also has ex-officio members representing the University of Florida and the Florida Department of 
Transportation. 

V-25 



During the development of the Year 2020 Transportation Plan , the MTPO identified several roads 
which could not completely accommodate future traffic by adding additional traffic lanes. Such 
roads are either at the maximum number of lanes allowed by FDOT policy or were tested with the 
maximum number of lanes allowed. For example, Archer Road from SW 75th Street east to U.S. 
Highway 441 was tested as a six-lane road. Even at six lanes, future traffic projections are greater 
than the capacity of even a six-lane road. 

As a result of the modeling effort, the Year 2020 Transportation Plan identifies several segments of 
the regional road network as multi-modal corridors which are to emphasize transportation demand 
management (TDM) techniques. These techniques include increased transit service, the construction 
of transit park and ride lots, as well as the construction of adequate bicycle and pedestrian facilities. 
The MTPO adopted the following multi-modal corridors as part of the Year 2020 Transportation 
Plan , all of which service the University of Florida, are part of the regional road network, and are 
likely to be adversely impacted by the enrollment increase at the university as forecasted in the draft 
campus master plan: 

1 . Archer Road (State Road 24); 

2. Newberry Road (State Road 26); 

3 . W 34th Street (State Road 121); 

4. W 13th Street (U.S. 441); and 

Chapter 240.155(3), F.S. . states that the campus master plan transportation, circulation, and parking 
element must address reasonable transportation demand management (TDM) techniques to minimize 
off-site impacts where possible. The draft campus master plan does not adequately rely on TDM 
techniques. If the university is to continue to grow, campus development alternatives must be found 
which will minimize the use of single-occupancy automobiles during peak-hour periods on segments 
of the regional road network which service the university. Possible solutions include increasing the 
percentage of students who live on-campus, constructing a series of off-campus commuter parking 
lots with bus shuttle service to campus instead of additional on-campus parking lots, and reducing 
peak-hour traffic by offering night classes at the university. 

PROBLEMS. NEEDS. AND OPPORTUNITIES 

The Council identifies the following regional transportation problems, needs, and opportunities: 

1 . A need exists to provide public transit services to the north central Florida transportation 
disadvantaged. 

2. A need exists to increase ridership on north central Florida fixed-route public transit systems. 



V-26 



9 



3 . A need exists to maintain the regional road network at or above the minimum level of service 
standard contained in local government comprehensive plans. 

4. A need exists to mitigate transportation impacts to the regional transportation facilities 
associated with increased enrollment at the University of Florida. 

5. An opportunity exists to minimize adverse transportation impacts to segments of the regional 
road network which service the University of Florida by relocating proposed on-campus 
parking lots to off-campus locations and operating a series of shuttle buses between the off- 
campus parking lots and the campus. 

6. A need exists to maximize the use of the Gainesville Regional Airport before constructing 
a new regional airport. 

REGIONAL GOALS AND POLICIES 

Regional Road Network 

REGIONAL GOAL 5.1. Maintain a regional road network which operates at or above the 
minimum level of service standard contained in local government comprehensive plans. 

Regional Indicator 

As of September, 1995, 95.2 percent of the north central Florida regional road network was 
operating at or above the minimum operating level of service standard identified in local 
government comprehensive plans. 

Policy 5.1.1. Provide technical assistance to local governments in preparing and updating Traffic 
Circulation elements in local government comprehensive plans. 

Policy 5.1.2. Coordinate with the Florida Department of Transportation regarding proposed 
improvements to the regional road network to assure consistency with local government 
comprehensive plans. 

Policy 5.1.3. Review proposals for road widening and new transportation corridors for impacts upon 
natural resources of regional significance and adjacent local governments. 

Policy 5.1.4. Provide technical assistance to local governments seeking funds for transportation 
improvements. 

Policy 5.1.5. Provide technical assistance to the Gainesville Urban Area Metropolitan 
Transportation Planning Organization. 



V-27 



Policy 5.1.6. Develop recommended local government development orders for Developments of 
Regional Impact which mitigate adverse impacts of the development upon regionally significant 
transportation facilities. 

Policy 5.1.7. Mitigate adverse impacts of development upon regional transportation facilities. 

Policy 5.1.8. Mitigate impacts created by development so as to maintain the minimum level of 
service standard on the Florida Intrastate Highway System (FIHS) as established by the Florida 
Department of Transportation. 

Policy 5.1.9. Mitigate impacts created by development so as to maintain the minimum adopted level 
of service standard on non-FIHS roads identified in this plan as significant regional transportation 
as established in local government comprehensive plans. 

Policy 5.1.10. Coordinate with state agencies to identify reserved or dedicated rights-of-way to 
protect critical transportation corridors. 

Policy 5.1.11. Develop a mechanism by which regional transportation priorities are defined and 
understood among all counties that are not represented by the Metropolitan Transportation Planning 
Organization for the Gainesville Urban Area. 

Policy 5.1.12. Direct future transportation improvements to aid in the management of growth and 
that promote economic development in designated areas. 

University of Florida 

REGIONAL GOAL 5.2. Mitigate adverse impacts to regional transportation facilities associated 
with enrollment growth at the University of Florida. 

Regional Indicators 

1 . As of September, 1995, the University of Florida had no off-campus parking areas. 

2. As of September, 1995, the University of Florida offered no night classes. 

3 . During the 1 994-95 school year, the University of Florida housed 24.5 percent of its students 
on campus. 

Policy 5.2.1. Construct parking lots and garages which serve the University of Florida off-campus 
and operate a series of University-sponsored shuttle buses between the parking lots and the campus 
instead of constructing additional parking spaces on the campus. 



V-28 



t Policy 5.2.2. Increase the percentage of students living on campus from the current level of 24.5 
percent. 

Policy 5.2.3. Provide an evening division of classes in order to reduce off-campus impacts on the 
regional road network during peak hour traffic periods. 

Policy 5.2.4. Complete multi-modal corridor studies as soon as possible for the following roads: 

A. State Road 26 from west of Interstate 75 east to State Road 24; 

B. U.S. 441 from State Road 33 1 north to NW 6th Street; 

C. State Road 121 from State Road 331 north to U.S. 441; 

D. State Road 24 from SW 75th Street east to U.S. 441 ; and 

Policy 5.2.5. Adopt transportation demand management strategies such as carpools, vanpools, 
public transit, bicycling, incorporating public transit costs in University of Florida student activity 
fees, and walking to encourage use of the multi-modal corridors for modes of travel other than 
single-occupant automobiles. 



> 



Policy 5.2.6. Adopt measures such as prohibiting freshmen from purchasing parking decals to park 
on campus in order to reduce the demand for parking facilities and encouraging freshmen to use 
public transit, bicycles, and walking while traveling to and from the University area. 

Gainesville Regional Airport 

REGIONAL GOAL 5.3. Maximize the use of the Gainesville Regional Airport before developing 
a new regional airport. 

Regional Indicator 

In 1992, Gainesville Regional Airport enplaned 140,134 passengers and 212 tons of freight 
cargo. 

Policy 5.3.1. Coordinate development plans of the Gainesville Regional Airport with the City of 
Gainesville and Alachua County comprehensive plans to avoid unnecessary conflicts, to ensure the 
safety of airport operations, and to allow for future increases in the operational capacity of the 
airport. 



V-29 



Public Transit Service Providers 

REGIONAL GOAL 5.4. Reduce the unmet General Trip demand of the north central Florida 
Transportation Disadvantaged population. 

Regional Indicator 

An estimated 807,917 general demand trips, 82.8 percent of total estimated transportation 
disadvantaged trips, were unmet in 1995. 

Policy 5.4.1. Improve mobility options for low-income, elderly and disabled citizens. 

Policy 5.4.2. Increase funding for coordinated transportation systems for the transportation disabled. 

Policy 5.4.3. Provide technical assistance to designated north central Florida community 
transportation coordinators. 

REGIONAL GOAL 5.5. Increase the percentage of north central Florida residents using public 
transportation as a primary means of transportation. 

Regional Indicator 

In 1990, 1.2 percent of north central Florida residents used public transportation as a primary 
means of travel to work. 121 

Policy 5.5.1. Coordinate with the Gainesville Regional Transit System, the Metropolitan 
Transportation Planning Agency for the Gainesville Urbanized area, the University of Florida, the 
City of Gainesville, and Alachua County to provide opportunities through their respective plans and 
programs for a greater likelihood of increased public transit ridership. 

Policy 5.5.2. Coordinate with Big Bend Transit, Inc., the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority, and 
north central Florida local governments to provide opportunities through their respective plans and 
programs for a greater likelihood of increased public transit ridership. 



121, 



Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Florida, 1995 Florida Statistical Abstract . Table 
13.01. 

V-30 



REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT FACILITIES AND RESOURCES 



REGIONALLY SIGNIFICANT FACILITIES AND RESOURCES 

Regionally Significant Facilities and Resources are those facilities and resources identified by the 
Council as being of regional importance and meets one or more of the following criteria: (1) its 
uniqueness, function, benefit, service delivery area, or importance is identified as being of regional 
concern; (2) a facility or resource that requires the participation or involvement of two or more 
governmental entities to ensure proper and efficient management; or (3) a facility or resource that 
meets either criteria in 1 or 2 above and is defined to be of state or regional concern or importance 
in state or federal laws or rules of state or regional agencies adopted pursuant to Chapter 120, Florida 
Statutes. 121 

Rule 9J-5. 15.4(a), Florida Administrative Code ( F.A.C. ). requires local government comprehensive 
plan intergovernmental coordination elements to determine if development proposals would have 
a significant impact on regionally significant facilities and resources identified in the strategic 
regional policy plan. Rule 9J-5 also requires local government comprehensive plans to identify all 
regionally significant facilities and resources identified in the Strategic Regional Policy Plan and 
establish a process for mitigating these impacts. Regionally significant facilities and resources to 
be identified in the local plan are those which are located within the local government's jurisdiction, 
beyond the local government's jurisdiction but within its area of concern as defined by Rule 9J- 
5.015(1), and beyond the area of concern, based upon the characteristics of the facility or resource, 
which could be reasonably expected to be significantly impacted by development within the local 
government's jurisdiction. 

Local government comprehensive plan intergovernmental coordination elements must contain a 
definition of significant impact to each identified regionally significant facility and resource within 
the government's jurisdiction. The definition is to be designed to ensure that regionally significant 
facilities and resources are protected and/or maintained in a manner which is in accordance with the 
provisions and criteria of the regional plan. 

Intergovernmental coordination elements are to undergo a process with adjacent local governments 
to insure the compatible coordination of the management of impacts upon regionally significant 
facilities and resources. Under Rule 9J-5. 1 5.(4)(a)4.(a)(I), F.A.C. . local governments are encouraged 
to demonstrate compatibility through incorporation of any relevant portions of the regional plan 
which includes the compatible identification of regionally significant facilities and resources, 
definition of significant impacts, and description of mitigation criteria or standards. If the regional 
plan contains an model intergovernmental coordination element, local governments can demonstrate 
compatibility by adopting it or the applicable portions of it as their intergovernmental coordination 
element. 



North central Florida regionally significant facilities and resources, as defined in Rule 27E.005, F.A.C. . 
consist of Regionally Significant Emergency Preparedness Facilities identified in Table 3.2, Natural Resources of 
Regional Significance identified in Table 4.1, Regionally Significant Transportation Facilities identified in Table 
5.8, and Regionally Significant Facilities and Resources, identified in Section VI. 

VI-1 



Facilities recognized by the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan as regionally 
significant facilities and resources not addressed elsewhere are comprised of cultural facilities, 
educational institutions, electric power generation stations, hospitals, landfills, and state prisons. 

Cultural Facilities recognized as regional facilities are those which are either owned or funded (at 
least in part) by the state or provide cultural opportunities to residents of multiple local jurisdictions. 

Educational institutions recognized as regional facilities are those which provide either two or four 
year college degrees or technical training to residents of multiple local jurisdictions. See pages V-12 
through V- 15 for a discussion of the relationship between the University of Florida and the 
Gainesville Central City Transportation Concurrency Management Area. 

Electrical power facilities recognized as regional facilities are those facilities which provide 
electrical power to multiple local government jurisdictions. 

Florida Greenways recognized as regional facilities are those greenways which have been formally 
recognized as such by the Florida Greenways Commission. 

Hospitals recognized as regional facilities are those facilities which provide electrical power to 
multiple local government jurisdictions. 

Landfills recognized as regional facilities are those facilities which provide solid waste disposal 
services to multiple local government jurisdictions. 

State prisons are recognized as regional facilities as they hold prisoners whose place of residence is 
from outside the region. They also represent a significant source of employment for north central 
Florida residents. Since the majority of prisoners housed in north central Florida prisons are from 
outside the region, state prisons are considered to be a basic industry for north central Florida. 

Cultural Facilities 

Center for Performing Arts 

Florida State Museum 

Florida Trail 

Forest Capital Museum 

Hippodrome State Theater 

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historical Site 

Samuel P. Harn Art Museum 

Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center 



VI-2 



m Educational Institutions 

Bradford-Union County Vocational Technical Center 
Lake City Community College 
North Florida Junior College 
Santa Fe Community College 
Suwannee-Hamilton Vocational Technical Center 
Taylor Technical Institute 
University of Florida 

Electric Power Facilities 

Electric Power Generating Stations 

Electric Transmission Lines of 500 KVA 

Electric Transmission Lines of Lesser Voltage That Serve Multi-County Jurisdictions 

Electric Substations to Support Above-Referenced Transmission Line Facilities 

Florida Greenways 

Aucilla River Greenway (Madison and Taylor counties) 
Bell Central Rail Trail (Alachua County) 
Big Bend Coastal Greenway (Dixie and Taylor counties) 
Depot Rail Trail (Alachua County) 

Devil's Millhopper Bike Path/Transportation Corridor (Alachua County) 
Dixie-Levy Greenway (Dixie and Gilchrist counties) 
"*^\ Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail (Alachua County) 

Hogtown Creek Greenway (Alachua County) 
Ichetucknee River Greenway (Columbia and Suwannee counties) 
Jasper Rail Trail (Hamilton County) 
Live Oak Rail Trail (Suwannee County) 

Lower Suwannee River Greenway (Dixie, Gilchrist, and Lafayette counties) 
Middle Suwannee River Greenway (Lafayette, Madison, and Suwannee counties) 
Newnans Lake/Lochloosa/Orange Creek Greenway (Alachua County) 
Osceola National Forest Florida National Scenic Trail (Columbia County) 
Pinhook Swamp/Okefenokee Greenway (Columbia County) 
Santa Fe River Greenway (Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Gilchrist, Suwannee, and Union 

counties) 
Steinhatchee River Greenway (Dixie, Lafayette, and Taylor counties) 
Sweetwater Creek/Matheson Greenway (Alachua County) 

Upper Suwannee River Greenway (Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties) 
Suwannee River Greenway at Branford (Suwannee County) 
Waldo Road Rail Trail (Alachua County) 



VI-3 



Hospitals 

North Florida Regional Medical Center, Gainesville 

Santa Fe Healthcare Systems, Inc., Hospitals in Alachua County 

Shands Teaching Hospital, Gainesville 

Veterans Administration Hospital, Gainesville 

Veterans Administration Hospital, Lake City 

Landfills 

Alachua County Southwest Landfill (Alachua and Gilchrist counties) 
New River Solid Waste Management Association (Baker, Bradford, & Union counties) 
Suwannee Valley Solid Waste Management Association (Dixie, Jefferson, Madison, & 
Taylor counties) 

Natural Gas Transmission Lines 

Natural Gas Transmission Lines 

State Prisons 

Columbia Correctional Institution 

Cross City Correctional Institution 

Florida State Prison, Bradford County 

Gainesville Community Correctional Center 

Hamilton Correctional Institution 

Lake Butler Reception and Medical Center 

Lake City Community Correctional Center 

Lancaster Correctional Institution 

Lawtey Correctional Institute, Bradford County 

Madison Correctional Institution 

Mayo Correctional Institution 

New River Correctional Institution 

Santa Fe Community Correctional Institution 

Union Correctional Institution 



VI-4 



y 



COORDINATION OUTLINE 



\ 



y COORDINATION OUTLINE 

The coordination outline provides an overview of the Council's cross acceptance, dispute resolution, 
public participation, and related regional planning and coordination activities. It focuses on how the 
Council helps to resolve inconsistencies among the various (local/regional/state) plans and programs. 

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 

The Council actively seeks public participation in all of its endeavors. Every meeting of the Council 
and its committees is advertised in Florida Administrative Weekly. Additionally, Council and 
committee meeting notices/agendas are distributed to the news media and directly to interested 
persons who have requested to be placed on the Council's notification lists. Agendas are also 
available to the public through the Internet via the World Wide Web. The Council's home page 
Internet address is http://www.afn.org/~ncfirpc/. 

Citizens participate in Council programs in a variety of ways. Ongoing citizen participation is 
accomplished by including eight non-voting citizen members on the Council and various Council 
committees. This format allows direct citizen input at the policy-making level. Also, citizen 
advisory committees are created for special projects in which more organized citizen input is 
desirable. 

% In developing the regional plan, the Council held one public workshop during the early stages of plan 

formulation to describe the regional planning effort and to receive input from the public regarding 
the content, structure, and application of the plan as well as to receive input regarding the process 
of plan formulation and adoption. Additionally, the Council will hold at least three well-advertised 
meetings at different locations throughout the region to describe the content of the proposed plan 
submitted to the Executive Office of the Governor and to receive public comment regarding the 
proposed plan. 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION 

The Council has adopted a dispute resolution process (Rule 29C-8, Florida Administrative Code ) 
designed to reconcile differences in planning, growth management, and other issues among local 
governments, regional agencies, and private interests. The voluntary process attempts to identify and 
resolve problems early, provide a range of dispute resolution options, appropriately involve all 
affected parties, and be both time- and cost-effective. 

CROSS-ACCEPTANCE 

Chapter 186.505(22), Florida Statutes ( F.S. ). states that regional planning councils have the power 
"to establish and conduct a cross-acceptance negotiation process with local governments intended 
to resolve inconsistencies between applicable local and regional plans, with participation by local 
governments being voluntary." 



VII- 1 



In order to encourage up-front compatibility among the various regional planning council and local 
government plans, the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council has established a voluntary 
cross-acceptance process which can be used to prevent high-profile conflicts between plans of two 
regional planning Councils, between the regional planning Council and local government plans, and 
between plans (and plan amendments) being developed by adjacent local governments. 

HOW THE CROSS-ACCEPTANCE PROCESS WORKS 

The Council's cross-acceptance process consists of an informal, non-binding, staff-level review of 
local government plans/plan amendments as well as strategic regional policy plans/plan amendments 
of adjacent regional planning Councils. 

The process is initiated when a local government submits a plan or plan amendment to the Council 
requesting initiation of the process prior to submitting the plan/amendment for review pursuant to 
Chapter 163, F\S. For regional plans/amendments, the process begins when the Council receives 
a request by an adjacent regional planning Council to initiate the cross-acceptance review. Within 
ten days of receipt of the plan/amendment for review through the cross-acceptance process, the 
Council staff will make an informal, non-binding, review of the plan or plan amendment. In the case 
of a local government comprehensive plan/amendment review, the Council will communicate the 
results of the review to the initiating local government. In the case of a regional plan/amendment 
review, the Council will communicate the results of the review to the appropriate regional planning 
Council. 

For proposed regional and local plans/amendments, staff review will consist of a determination as 
to its effects on regional resources or facilities identified in the regional plan and extrajurisdictional 
impacts on adjacent local governments. The review will include recommendations as to how the 
plan/amendment can be made to mitigate significant adverse impacts on adjacent local governments 
as well as ensure its consistency with the Council's regional plan. 

The Florida Department of Community Affairs is considering use of the cross-acceptance process 
by including it in the new local government comprehensive plan Intergovernmental Coordination 
Element (ICE) rule 9J-5.015(4)(a)4.a.(iii), F.A.C.. as an alternative means of demonstrating 
intergovernmental compatibility between plans. The Intergovernmental Compatibility requirement 
of 9J-5 states the ICE element must demonstrate consideration of the particular effects of the local 
plan upon development within adjacent and other affected local governments. Rule 9J-5 encourages 
local governments to accomplish this by demonstrating compatibility between local government 
ICEs, including the compatible identification of resources, facilities and community characteristics, 
definition of significant impacts, and description of mitigation criteria or standards in one of three 
ways, of which one is through the completion of the North Central Florida Regional Planning 
Council's cross-acceptance process. 



VII-2 



* THE COUNCIL'S LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN REVIEW 
PROCESS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE VOLUNTARY CROSS-ACCEPTANCE 
PROCESS 

The Council is authorized to review and comment on local government proposed comprehensive 
plans and plan amendments by Chapter 163, F.S. . and through contractual agreements between the 
Council and the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The Council's review of 
proposed plans/amendments is limited to the effects on regional resources or facilities identified in 
the regional plan and extrajurisdictional impacts which would be inconsistent with the 
comprehensive plan of the affected local government. Council review of adopted plans/amendments 
consists of a determination of consistency of the plan as amended with the regional plan. The 
Council's review findings are considered by DCA during its compliance review of local plans/plan 
amendments. 

This process must be followed regardless of any agreements reached through or modifications made 
to local plans/amendments as a result of the Council's voluntary cross-acceptance process. 
Furthermore, any determination or recommendation made by Council staff through the voluntary 
cross-acceptance process is subject to review and reversal by the DCA through the Chapter 1 63, F.S.. 
review process described above, with or without a recommendation to do so by the policy body of 
the Council. 

The Council's cross-acceptance process does not obligate the local government or adjoining regional 
planning Council to change its plan/amendment as a result of the process; nor does it obligate the 
Council to find the plan/amendment consistent with the regional plan through the Council's formal 
review processes should the local government or adjoining regional planning council implement any 
or all of the staff recommendations contained in the cross-acceptance review. 

REGIONAL PLANNING AND COORDINATION ACTIVITIES 

The Council conducts a number of various planning activities and programs. These activities and 
programs include intergovernmental coordination and review, developments of regional impact 
review, functioning as a regional information center, hurricane preparedness planning, regional 
public facilities planning, hazardous materials emergency management planning, staffing of the 
Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the Gainesville urban area, staffing of county 
transportation disadvantaged programs, and local government technical assistance. These activities 
and programs are discussed below. 

INTERGOVERNMENTAL COORDINATION AND REVIEW (IC&R) 

One of the ways the Council implements its regional plan is through a federal/state/regional review 
process formally known as the Intergovernmental Coordination and Review process. The Governor 
has designated the state's eleven regional planning Councils as areawide clearinghouses for 
federally-funded projects that affect local governments in Florida. 



VII-3 



The Council reviews these applications/projects to avoid and/or mitigate potential adverse impacts 
that may be created by an activity in neighboring communities or counties, insure coordination and 
consistency with local government and comprehensive regional policy plans, and to avoid 
duplication or conflict with other area programs. 

DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL IMPACT (DRD REVIEW PROCESS 

The DRI review process provides state, regional, and local agencies the opportunity to evaluate the 
impacts of large-scale development projects. The potential impacts of a proposed DRI project on 
adjacent local governments and on regional resources and facilities are identified by the Council and 
measures to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts are developed for inclusion in the development order 
issued by the local government of jurisdiction. 

REGIONAL INFORMATION CENTER 

The Regional Information Center is the information service and publication center of the Council. 
It includes a library, a research service, and public information resources. The Center is often the 
starting place for many developers, consultants, marketing specialists, media representatives, 
students, and planners looking for regional statistics and information. The Council is a Florida 
Census Data Affiliate and an official repository for federal home loan disclosure reports. Data 
research requests are filled on a regular basis. 

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS 

In 1990, the Council completed its first five-year update of the regional hurricane evacuation and 
inland shelter studies. Both regional and county plans were prepared by the Council in 1985. The 
1 990 regional study focuses on updating the number and location of people who need to evacuate 
in the event of a hurricane, including any special needs created by disabilities or age. The study 
includes the location and type of shelter spaces available to accommodate evacuees. Evacuation 
routes and potential impediments, such as flooding, to the movement of vehicles are also discussed. 
A technical committee composed of county civil defense directors, representatives of the Florida 
Division of Emergency Management, and the American Red Cross assisted in this effort. 

REGIONAL PUBLIC FACILITIES 

Since 1987 when its comprehensive regional policy plan was initially adopted, the Council has 
assisted the region's counties in creating regional landfills and regional library systems. In a time 
when economics, new technologies and/or other factors are forcing local governments to look for 
safe and cost-effective alternatives, the Council can provide the expertise and forum for developing 
regional solutions to a number of problems facing local governments in Florida. 



VII-4 



> 



HAZARDOUS MATERIALS 

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), also known as Title III of 
the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) requires the preparation of local 
emergency hazardous material response plans. In Florida, hazardous materials emergency response 
plans have been developed utilizing the eleven regional planning Council districts and state- 
appointed local emergency planning committees (LEPCs). The emergency response plan for the 
North Central Florida Region was adopted by the Local Emergency Planning Committee on June 
9, 1989, and last updated on May 19, 1995. 

Florida follow-up legislation also requires the state's 67 counties to each prepare a county hazardous 
materials emergency response plan. The county plans, in turn, form the basis of the regional plans. 
Council staff completed plan updates for seven of the region's eleven counties in 1995. The updates 
include site-specific information on facilities that contain extremely hazardous substances. The 
plans identify the quantities of hazardous material on-site, the vulnerable zone that could be 
impacted by a worse-case release, and the probability of a release occurring. 

The LEPC, with financial assistance from the state, also organizes free training sessions for 
emergency fire and rescue teams, police, and others whose job is to respond to accidents which may 
involve hazardous materials. Different levels of training are being provided to the "First 
Responders" with the first level focussing on how to safely recognize and make proper notifications 
for possible hazardous materials incidents. 

THE METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING ORGANIZATION 
FOR THE GAINESVILLE URBANIZED AREA 

Through an agreement signed by the Florida Department of Transportation, Alachua County, and 
the City of Gainesville, the Metropolitan Transportation Planing Organization for the Gainesville 
Urbanized Area (MTPO) was formed to conduct transportation planning activities in the Gainesville 
urbanized area. This program makes the area eligible to receive federal funds for transportation 
projects. The Council serves as the staff providing technical and administrative assistance in 
developing transportation plans and programs. 

TRANSPORTATION DISADVANTAGED PROGRAM 

Another major transportation planning activity of the Council is the Transportation Disadvantaged 
planning program. Counties are required to develop plans in order to receive state funds to increase 
transportation services to low-income, elderly, and handicapped persons. The Council serves as the 
designated official planning agency for nine counties in the region. The MTPO serves as the planning 
agency for Alachua County while the Taylor County Commission is the designated official planning 
agency for Taylor County. These agencies are responsible for conducting planning studies needed 
to increase transportation services to low-income individuals, elderly individuals, and persons with 
disabilities. 



VII-5 



LOCAL GOVERNMENT TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE 

The Council also offers technical assistance to local governments which do not have available staff 
or expertise for certain activities. These activities range from comprehensive planning to community 
development. 

Comprehensive Planning Assistance 

The Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act requires 
local governments to prepare and adopt comprehensive plans which are consistent with regional and 
state comprehensive plans. In addition, local governments are required to adopt land development 
regulations to implement their comprehensive plans. Since this legislation was initially enacted back 
in 1975, the Council has assisted nearly every local government in the region with preparing all or 
a portion of their comprehensive plans and development regulations. Technical assistance on plan 
amendments and general administration of local planning programs is provided on a continuing basis 
to many of these same local governments by Council under contract. 

Community Development Block Grants 

The Council also assists local governments in assessing their community development needs, then 
applying for and administering Community Development Block Grants. The federal block grant 
program, administered by DCA, helps local governments address the need for housing rehabilitation 
of low-and moderate-income occupied dwelling units, the need for the commercial revitalization of 
downtowns, and the need for revitalizing public facilities in neighborhoods occupied by low-and 
moderate-income persons. 

Florida Communities Trust Preservation 2000 Grants 

The Council also assists local governments in preparing applications for Florida Communities Trust 
Preservation 2000 grant funds, a program designed to assist local governments in purchasing 
sensitive lands within their communities. The Council has prepared or helped to prepare three 
applications during the three years of this relatively new program, two of which have been funded, 
while the third is currently being reviewed and ranked with others applications submitted from 
around the state. 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 

The economic development program of the Council consists of economic development planning and 
technical assistance, Areawide Development Company (SB A loan packaging) activities, and tourism 
promotion. 



VII-6 



> 



ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT (EDm 

Since the federal Economic Development Administration designation of the region as an Economic 
Development District in 1978, the Council has continued to maintain a high level of involvement 
in providing technical assistance to local governments and development authorities in order to 
promote economic growth. 

CERTIFIED DEVELOPMENT COMPANY (CDC) 

In cooperation with local businesses, financial institutions, and community organizations, the 
Council created a non-profit corporation in 1983 to package Small Business Administration 504 
loans. The corporation is certified by the SBA to operate as a Certified Development Company to 
provide subordinated mortgage financing to eligible small and medium-sized commercial and 
industrial businesses in the area. The Council also assists businesses with Small Business 
Administration 7(a) loan packaging and is currently in the process of establishing an intermediary 
relending (revolving) loan program. 

THE ORIGINAL FLORIDA TOURISM TASK FORCE 

The Council developed a tourism strategic plan in 1992. Upon completion, the Council entered into 
a formal agreement with public and private agencies in the region's counties whose representatives 
form a Tourism Task Force to undertake promotional efforts and other activities for tourism 
throughout the region. The Council provides in-kind staff assistance to this on-going effort. 

EMPLOYMENT TRAINING 

The Job Training Partnership Act Program is administered by the Council throughout the region. 
The program assists economically disadvantaged, long-term unemployed and laid-off persons in 
obtaining training and unsubsidized gainful employment. The program is based upon a partnership 
between private business and the public sector. This balance is evident in the structure of the 
program, which includes two organizations that are responsible for developing local policies under 
which the program is operated. These two entities are: the Florida's Suwannee Valley Private 
Industry Council (PIC), consisting of representatives from the region's businesses, governmental 
social service agencies, public education, organized labor and economic development organizations; 
and Florida's Suwannee Valley Job Training Consortium which is comprised of county commission 
chairmen from the region. 

To carry out job training activities, the Council contracts with service providers such as school 
boards, community colleges, and agencies that specialize in training handicapped individuals. 



VII-7 



> 



APPENDIX 



> 



A. DISPUTE RESOLUTION RULE 



I 



I 



RULES 

OF THE 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA REGIONAL PLANNING COUNCIL 

CHAPTER 29C-8 

RULES OF PROCEDURE AND PRACTICE PERTAINING TO 

THE REGIONAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS (RDRP) 

29C-8.001 PURPOSE 

29C-8.002 DEFINITIONS 

29C-8.005 PARTICIPATION 

29C-8.004 COSTS 

29C-8.005 TIMEFRAMES 

29C-8.006 ADMINISTRATIVE PROTOCOLS 

29C-8.007 PUBLIC NOTICE, RECORDS. AND CONFIDENTIALITY 

29C-8.008 PRE-INITIATION MEETING 

29C-8.009 SITUATION ASSESSMENT 

29C-8.010 INITIATION OF THE PROCESS BY JURISDICTIONS 

29C-8.011 REQUESTS TO INITIATE PROCESS SUBMITTED BY OTHERS 

29C-8.012 SETTLEMENT MEETINGS 

29C-8.013 MEDIATION 

29C-8.014- ADVISORY DECISION-MAKING 

29C-8.015 SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS AND REPORTS 

29C-8.016 OTHER DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESSES 



A-l 



29C-8.001 PURPOSE 

(1 ) The purpose of the rule is to establish a voluntary regional dispute 
resolution process ( RDRP ) to reconcile differences on planning, growth 
management and other issues among local governments, regional agencies 
and private interests. The process consists of two basic components: 
process initiation (initiation and response letters), and settlement 
meetings; and five optional components: pre-init iation meeting, 
situation assessments, mediation, advisory decision-making, and reference 
to other dispute resolution processes (judicial, administrative or 
arbitration proceedings). 

(2) The intent of the RDRP is to provide a flexible process to reconcile 
differences on planning and growth management issues. The process is 
designed to clearly identify and resolve problems as early as possible, 
utilize the procedures in a low-to-high cost sequence, allow flexibility 
in the order in which the procedures are used, provide for the 
involvement of affected and responsible parties, and provide as much 
process certainty as possible. 

(3) The RDRP may be used to resolve disputes involving: 
extrajurisdictional impacts as provided for in the intergovernmental 
coordination elements of local comprehensive plans, as required by 
163-3177, F.S.; inconsistencies between port master plans and local 
comprehensive plans, as required by 163-3178, F.S.; the siting of 
community residential homes, as required by 419-001(5), F.S.; and any 
other matters covered by statutes which reference the RDRP. 

(4) The RDRP shall not be used to address disputes involving 



A-2 



> 



environmental permits or other regulatory matters unless all of the 
parties involved agree to initiate use of the RDRP - 

(5) Use of the RDRP shall not alter a jurisdiction's organization's, 
group's or individual's right to a judicial determination of any issue if 
that entity is entitled to such a determination under statutory or common 
1 aw . - 

(6) Participation in the RDRP as a named party or in any other capacity 
does not convey or limit intervenor status or standing in any judicial or 
administrative proceedings. 

Specific Authority 186.509, F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.002 DEFINITIONS 

(1) SITUATION ASSESSMENT is a procedure of information collection that 
may involve review of documents, interviews and an assessment meeting to 
identify the issues in dispute, the stakeholders, information needed 
before a decision can be made, or a recommendation for appropriate 
dispute resolution procedures. 

(2) PRE-INITIATION MEETINGS are opportunities for a party to discuss the 
suitability of the RDRP with the RPC staff for resolving their dispute 
before formally initiating the RDRP. 

(3) FACILITATION is a procedure in which a neutral party, acting as a 
facilitator, helps the named parties design and follow a meeting agenda, 
and assists parties to communicate more effectively throughout the 
process. The facilitator has no authority to make or recommend a 
decision . 



A-3 



(4-) MEDIATION is a procedure in which a neutral party, acting as a 
mediator, assists named parties in a negotiation process in exploring 
their interests, developing and evaluating options, and reaching a 
mutually-acceptable agreement. A mediator may take more control" of the 
process than a facilitator and usually works in more complex cases where 
a dispute is more clearly defined. 

(5) ADVISORY DECISION-MAKING is a procedure aimed at enhancing the 
effectiveness of negotiations and helping parties more realistically 
evaluate their negotiation positions. This procedure may include neutral 
evaluation, or advisory arbitration in which a neutral party or panel 
listens to the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a 
non-binding advisory decision. 

(6) JURISDICTION is any local, regional, or state government or agency, 
including special districts ,- author ities and school boards. 

(7) NAMED PARTY shall be any jurisdiction, public or private 
organization, group or individual which (who) is named in an initiation 
letter, including the initiating jurisdiction, or is admitted by the 
named parties to participate in settlement of a dispute pursuant to 
Subsections 29C-8.003 (1), (2) and (3). Being a "named party" in the 
RDRP does not convey or limit standing in any judicial or administrative 
proceeding. 

(8) REPRESENTATIVE is an individual who is given guidance and authority 
to act, to the extent possible, by a named party in a RDRP case. 
Subsection 29C-8. 003(4) sets forth the designation process. 

(9) INITIATION LETTER is a letter from a jurisdiction formally 
identifying a dispute and asking named parties to engage in this process 



A-4 



to resolve the dispute and, at a minimum, attend the initial settlement 
meeting. Subsection 29C-8. 010(2) specifies what must be included in an 
initiation letter. 

(10) RESPONSE LETTER formally notifies the initiator and other named 
parties that a party is willing to participate in the RDRP and, at a 
minimum, attend at least one settlement meeting. Subsection 29C-8. 010(3) 
specifies what must be included in a response letter. 

(11) SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS may be voluntarily approved by the individual 
or governing body authorized to bind the named party. Agreements may 
take the form of memorandums of understanding, contracts, interlocal 
agreements or other form mutually agreed to by the signatory parties or 
as required by law. A settlement may be agreed to by some or all of the 
named parties. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509, F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.003 PARTICIPATION 

(1) Named parties shall automatically be allowed to participate. Other 
jurisdictions, public or private organizations, groups, or individuals 
suggested by named parties in response letters or during RDRP meetings or 
submitting a petition to participate, shall be allowed to become named 
parties if agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the participating named 
parties, except as provided for in 290-8.003(2). Fee allocation 
agreements may be amended as appropriate. 

(2) All initiation and response letters made in accordance with 
intergovernmental coordination elements ( ICE) of local government 
comprehensive plans shall only list affected local government 



A-5 



jurisdictions as named parties. The named parties may, at the initial 
settlement or at subsequent RDRP meetings, add public or private named 
parties by mutual agreement of all the current named parties. 
(3) Other jurisdictions, public or private organizations, groups or 
individuals seeking to become named parties shall submit to the North 
Central Florida Regional Planning Council (-Council) a written petition to 
participate, including reasons for the request and information required 
in Subsection 29C-8. 01 0( 2 ) . Such jurisdictions, public or private 
organizations, groups, or individuals shall become named parties if 
agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the named parties prior to or 
during RDRP meetings, except as provided by 29C-8. 003( 2 ) . Named parties 
who do not respond within thirty days of the initiation letter may not 
participate in the RDRP unless they submit a petition for participation. 
(4-) Each of the jurisdictions, organizations, groups, or individuals 
participating as named parties in this process shall designate a 
representative, in writing, or be represented by the chief administrative 
officer. Such a representative shall have responsibility for 
representing that party's interest in this process and for maintaining 
communications with that party throughout the process and, to the extent 
possible, shall have the authority to act for that party. Jurisdictions 
are encouraged to designate a representative to participate in the RDRP 
in advance of initiating or receiving a request. 

(5) Any named or neutral party may invite individuals or organizations 
to attend meetings under this process who (which) can provide information 
and technical assistance useful in the resolution of the dispute. The 



A-6 



parties, by agreement, or the presiding neutral shall determine when and 
under what circumstances such invited parties may provide input. 

(6) All communications by a named party called for in this process shall 
be submitted to all other named parties and the Council in writing. 

(7) All named parties who agree to participate in this process commit to 
a good faith effort to resolve problems or- disputes. 

(8) Any named party may withdraw from participation in the RDRP upon 
written notice to all other named parties and the Council. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.004- COSTS 

(1) There shall be no charge for processing a RDRP initiation request 
and facilitation of the initial settlement meeting. The RPC shall be 
compensated for situation assessments, facilitation of additional 
settlement meetings, mediation, technical assistance and other staff 
services based on reasonable actual costs. Outside professional neutrals 
shall be compensated at their standard rate or as negotiated by the 
parties . 

(2) The costs of administration, settlement meetings, mediation or 
advisory arbitration shall be split equally between the named, parties or 
according to another agreed upon allocation. The agreed upon cost 
allocation shall be documented in a written fee agreement. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509, F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.005 TIMEFRAMES 



A-7 



(1) The initial settlement meeting shall be scheduled and held within 
forty-five days of the date of receipt of the initiation letter at a time 
and place convenient to the named parties. 

(2) Additional settlement meetings, mediation or advisory decision- 
making shall be completed within sixty days of the date of the conclusion 
of the initial settlement meeting. 

(3) All timeframes specified or agreed to in this process may be 
shortened or extended if agreed to by a two-thirds majority of the named 
parties . 

(4-) The parties may. by mutual agreement, utilize procedures in the RDRP 

in any order . 

(5) Where necessary to allow this process to be effectively carried out, 

named parties should defer or seek stays of judicial or administrative 

proceedings. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.006 ADMINISTRATIVE PROTOCOLS 

The Council may adopt administrative procedures to implement this rule. 

These may address staff and council roles, procedures for situation 

assessment, selection of neutrals, consumer guides or other matters. 

Where required pursuant to Section 120.52, F.S., policies and guidelines 

should be adopted as rules. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509, F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.007 PUBLIC NOTICE. RECORDS. AND CONFIDENTIALITY 



A-8 



) 



(1) Named parties should provide appropriate opportunities for public 
input at each step in this process, such as submitting written or oral 
comments on issues, alternative solutions and impacts of proposed 
agreements . 

(2) Applicable public notice and public records requirements shall be 
observed as required by Chapters 119 and 120. F.S. 

(3) Parties utilizing these procedures agree that no comments, meeting 
records, or written or oral offers of settlement shall be presented by 
them as evidence in any subsequent judicial or administrative action. 

(4) To the extent permitted by law, mediation under this process will be 
governed by the confidentiality provisions of applicable laws, which may 
include Chapter 44, F.S. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.008 PRE-INITIATION MEETING 

A jurisdiction, organization, group, or individual contemplating 

initiation of this process must request an informal pre-initiation 

meeting with the Council staff in order to ascertain whether the 

potential dispute would be appropriate for this process. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F^S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.009 SITUATION ASSESSMENT 

(1) A jurisdiction, organization, group, or individual may request that 
the Council (or other entity if the Council is one of the named parties) 
perform a situation assessment at any time, before or after initiation of 
the process . 



A-9 



(2) The situation assessment may involve examination of documents, 
interviews and assessment meetings, and shall recommend issues to be 
addressed, parties that should participate, appropriate resolution 
procedures, and a proposed schedule. 
Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.010 FORMAL INITIATION OF THE PROCESS BY JURISDICTIONS 

(1) A formal process is initiated by an initiation letter from the 
representative of the governing body of a jurisdiction, other than a 
regional planning council, to the named parties as provided for in 29C- 
8.005(1) and 29C-8. 005(2) and to the Council. The initiation letter must 
be accompanied by a resolution of the governing body authorizing the 
specific initiation or by a letter which authorizes its designated 
representative as defined in- this rule to initiate requests utilizing the 
RDRP. 

(2) Such an initiation letter shall identify the following: the issues 
to be discussed; the named parties to be involved in the dispute 
resolution process; the initiating party's representative and others who 
will attend; and a brief history of the dispute indicating why it is 
appropriate for this process. 

(3) Named parties shall send a response letter to the Council and all 
other named parties confirming their willingness to participate in a 
settlement meeting within thirty days of receipt of the initiation 
letter. This response letter shall include any additional issues and 
potential named parties the respondent wishes considered, as well as, a 



i 



A-10 



) 



brief history of the dispute and description of the situation from the 
respondent's point of view. 

(4) Upon receipt of an initiation letter, the Council shall assess its 
interest in the case. If the Council is a named party or sees rtself as 
a potential party, it shall notify the named parties of the nature of its 
interest and ascertain whether the parties -desire an ou-tside facilitator 
for the initial settlement meeting. 

(5) The Council may not initiate the RDRP but recommend that a potential 
dispute is suitable for this process and transmit its recommendation to 
potential parties who may, at their discretion, initiate the RDRP. 

(6) The Council shall schedule a settlement meeting within thirty days 
of the date of receipt of the initiation request. 

(7) In the event that a dispute affects jurisdictions involving two or 
more regions, the process adopted by the region of the initiating 
jurisdiction shall govern, unless the named parties agree otherwise. 
Specific Authority 186.509, F.S. Law Implemented 186.509, F.S. History 
- New . 

29C-8.011 REQUESTS TO INITIATE PROCESS SUBMITTED BY OTHERS 

(1) Private interests may request any jurisdiction to initiate the 
process. 

(2) Any public or private organization, group, or individual may request 
that the Council recommend use of this process to address a potential 
dispute in accordance with 29C-8 . 01 0( 5 ) . Such a request shall be 
submitted in writing and shall include the information required for an 
initiation letter as outlined in 29C-8 . 01 0( 2 ) . 



1 1 



A-ll 



(3) After reviewing the rationale submitted by and consulting with the 
requesting organization, group, or individual, the Council will conduct a 
situation assessment and respond in writing. 

(4) If the Council determines that the potential dispute is suitable for 
the process, it shall transmit that determination in writing to the 
potential parties. The determination may include a recommendation that 
one or more of the jurisdictions among the potential parties initiate the 
procedure. The Council may also suggest that other, resolution processes 
be considered. 

Specific Authority 186.509, F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.012 SETTLEMENT MEETINGS 

(1) Settlement meetings shall, at a minimum, be attended by the named 
parties' representatives designated pursuant to Subsection 29C-8 . 003( 4- ) . 

(2) Settlement meetings may be facilitated by a Council staff member or 
other neutral facilitator acceptable to the named parties and shall be 
held at a time and place acceptable to the named parties. 

(3) At the settlement meeting, the named parties shall consider adding 
named parties, consider guidelines for participation, identify the issues 
to be addressed, present their concerns and constraints, explore options 
for a solution, and seek agreement. 

(4-) The named parties shall submit a settlement meeting report in 
accordance with 29C-8. 015(4) of this process. 

(5) If an agreed-upon settlement meeting is not held or a settlement 
meeting produces no agreement to proceed to additional settlement 
meetings, mediation or advisory decision-making, any named party who has 

12 



A-12 



agreed to participate in this procedure may proceed to • a joint meeting of 
governing bodies pursuant to Chapter 164, F.S.. litigation, an 
administrative hearing or arbitration, as appropriate. 
Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. -History 

- New . 

29C-8.013 MEDIATION 

(1 ) If two or more of the named parties submit a request for mediation 
to the Council, the Council shall assist them in selecting and retaining 
a mediator or the named parties may request that the Council select a 
mediator . 

(2) All disputes shall be mediated by a mediator who understands Florida 
growth management issues, has mediation experience and is acceptable to 
the parties. Named parties may consider mediators who are on the Florida 
Growth Management Conflict Resolution Consortium rosters or any other 
mutually-acceptable mediator. Mediators shall be guided by the Standards 
of Professional Conduct, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 10, Part 
II, Section 020-150. 

(3) Named parties shall submit a mediation report in accordance with 
29C-8 . 01 5( 4- ) at the conclusion of advisory decision-making. 

Specific Authority 186.509, F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.014 ADVISORY DECISION-MAKING 

(1) If two or more of the named parties submit a request for advisory 
decision-making to the Council, the Council shall assist the named 
parties in selecting and retaining an appropriate neutral party or the 
named parties may request that the Council make the selection. 



A-13 



(2) All disputes shall be handled by a neutral party who understands 
Florida growth management issues, has appropriate experience and is 
acceptable to the named parties. 

(3) The named parties shall submit an advisory decis ion-making -report in 
accordance with Subsection 29C-8. 015(4) of this process. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509, F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.015 SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS AND REPORTS 

(1) The form of all settlements reached through this process shall be 
determined by the named parties and may include interlocal agreements, 
concurrent resolutions, memoranda of understanding, plan amendments, deed 
restrictions, or other forms as appropriate. 

(2) Agreements signed by designated representatives may be in the form 
of recommendations to the named parties and subject to their formal 
approval . 

(3) Agreements may be reached by two or more parties even if all of the 
named parties do not agree or do not sign a formal agreement. 

(4) After settlement meetings, mediation, or advisory decision-making 
under this process, the named parties shall submit a joint report to the 
Council which shall, at a minimum, include: 

(a) identification of the issues discussed and copies of any agreements 
reached ; 

(b) a list of potentially affected or involved jurisdictions, 
organizations, groups, or individuals (including those which may not be 
named parties); 



14 



A-14 



v 



(c) a timeframe for starting and ending informal negotiations, additional 
settlement meetings, mediation, advisory decision-making, joint meetings 
of elected bodies, administrative hearings or litigation; 

(d) any additional Council assistance requested; 

(e) a written fee allocation agreement to cover the costs of RDRP 
procedures ; 

(f) a description of responsibilities and schedules for implementing and 
enforcing agreements reached. The report shall include any statements 
that any named party wishes to include. 

Specific Authority 186.509, F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 

- New . 

29C-8.016 OTHER DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESSES 

(1) The RDRP is a voluntary opportunity for parties to negotiate a 
mutual agreement. It may be used before, in parallel with, or after 
judicial or administrative proceedings. 

(2) When appropriate, parties may obtain a stay of judicial or 
administrative proceedings to provide time for RDRP negotiations. 

(3) Use of the RDRP shall not alter a jurisdiction's, organization's, 
group's or individual's right to a judicial or administrative 
determination of any issue if that person is entitled to such a 
determination under statutory or common law. 

(4-) Participation in the RDRP as a named party or in any other way does 
not convey or limit intervenor status or standing in any judicial or 
administrative proceedings. 

(5) Other resolution processes that the parties may wish to consider 
utilizing which exist within Florida Statutes include the following: 

15 



A-15 



Intergovernmental Coordination Element. Section 163.3177(h) 1 & 2. F.S.; 
Port Master Plans, Section 163-3178 F.S.; Community Residential Homes, 
Section 419-001 (5) F.S.; Cross Acceptance Negotiation Process, Section 
186.505(22) F.S.; Location of Spoil Sites. Section 380.32(14) F.S.; 
Termination of the Development of Regional Impact Program, Section 
380.27, F.S.; Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 120 F.S.; Florida 
Governmental Cooperation Act, Chapter 164, F.S.; Mediation Alternatives 
to Judicial Action, Chapter 44, F.S. 

Specific Authority 186.509. F.S. Law Implemented 186.509. F.S. History 
- New . 



16 



A-16 



B. GLOSSARY OF TERMS 



• 



amended August 28, 1997 



I 



' 



GLOSSARY 

100-year Floodplain: An area delineated on the Flood Insurance Rate Map series published by the 
Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated to have a one in 1 00 chance of flooding in any 
given year. 

Acquire/Public Acquisition: Refers to a variety of ownership forms of real property, including fee 
simple ownership as well as the ownership of specific rights such as land development rights, 
mineral rights, and timber rights. 

Affordable Housing: Housing for which annual costs (including utilities, taxes, maintenance, and 
other associated costs) represents no more than 30 percent of the residing household's annual income. 

Aquifer: An underground geologic formation holding ground water. 

Assessed Value: The value of real property established by a tax assessor which is used as a basis for 
determining ad valorem property taxes. 

Backlogged Roadway: An unconstrained roadway operating at a level of service below the adopted 
rninimum LOS standards and not programmed for improvement in the first three years of FDOT's 
adopted work program or the first three years of the five year schedule of improvements in the local 
government comprehensive plan's capital improvement element. A roadway formally categorized 
as such in local government comprehensive plans. 

Basic Industries: Industries whose products are sold or whose profits are otherwise generated 
beyond the geographic boundaries of the region. North central Florida basic industries include, but 
are not limited to, agriculture, educational services, health services, manufacturing, and mining. 

Catastrophic Disasters: Disasters that require massive state and federal assistance, including 
immediate military involvement, such as a category four or five hurricane that hit a densely 
populated area. 

Coastal High Hazard Area: The evacuation zone for a Category 1 hurricane as established in the 
regional hurricane evacuation study applicable to the local government (9J-5.003(19), F.A.C.). 

Cone of Influence: A depression in the potentiometric surface around a well or spring from which 
water is withdrawn. 

Constrained Roadway: A roadway which cannot be widened or enhanced due to physical 
constraints. A roadway formally categorized as such in local government comprehensive plans. 

Density: An objective measurement of a number of units per unit of area, such as residents or 
housing units per acre. 

B-l 
amended August 28, 1997 



Economic Development District: A regional economic development administration district 
authorized by the U.S. Economic Development Administration that assists local governments within 
the district with economic development initiatives. 

Ecosystem: A functional system that includes the organisms of a natural community together with 
their environment. — 

Endangered species: Animal or plant species that are recognized by federal or state agencies as in 
imminent danger of extinction or expiration. 

Estuary: A semi-enclosed coastal body of water having a free connection with the open sea and 
within which sea water is measurably diluted with fresh water. 

Eutrophication: The processes that result in a higher concentration of dissolved nutrients in a water 
body. 

Farm: means any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold 
or normally would have been sold, during the census year (1992 Census of Agriculture). 

First Magnitude Spring: A spring which discharges an average of 100 cubic feet or more of water 
per second. 

First Responders: Individuals which are most likely to be first to respond to the scene of a 
hazardous material release. First responders typically include fire fighters, policemen, and county 
sheriff personnel. 

Florida Greenways (or Greenways): Florida Greenways are connections linking existing parks, 
rivers, and wetland systems to create a statewide network of native habitats, open spaces, and linear 
parks which have been formally recognized as Florida Greenways by the Florida Greenways 
Commission. 

Focal Species: Animal species considered by wildlife biologists to be indicator species of overall 
ecosystem health. If these species are present in an area, then wildlife biologists are confident that 
species commonly found in association with the focal species are also present. 

Goal: A long-term end toward which programs and activities are ultimately directed. 

Gross Rent: The monthly contract rent plus the estimated average cost of utilities (electricity, gas, 
and water) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid for by the renters. 

Ground Water: Water occurring in an aquifer below the surface of the land. 



B-2 
amended August 28, 1997 



Habitat: The place where an organism lives, and where one would go to find it. It is the place that 
provides an organism with essential life needs, such as food, water, cover, space, and mates. 

Hardwood: Wood from trees such as oaks and beeches used to make lumber. 

Hardwood Hammock: A densely wooded upland or wetland community with high plant species 
diversity, which is dominated by oaks, cabbage palms, or other species of hardwood trees. 

Hazardous Material: One of several hundred thousand chemicals for which the U.S. Occupational 
Safety and Health Administration requires a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). An MSDS is a 
legal document which details a chemical's synonyms; physical properties; shipping, handling, and 
storage procedures; and health hazard, first aid, reactivity, fire, and explosion, and spill and leakage 
data. 

Household: One or more persons, related or unrelated, living together in a single housing unit. 

Identified Attributes: Selected qualities or characteristics of larger ecosystems or habitats which 
have been identified, described, and mapped through field surveys by qualified wildlife biologists, 
botanists, and ecologists as necessary to the survival of self-sustaining populations of representative 
samples of native Florida animal species, plant species, and habitat types. 

Infrastructure: Man-made structures which serve the common needs of the population such as 
\ sewage disposal systems, potable water systems, potable water wells serving a system, solid waste 
disposal sites and retention areas, stormwater systems, utilities, piers, docks, wharves, breakwaters, 
bulkheads, seawalls, bulwarks, revetments, causeways, marinas, navigation channels, and roadways 
(9J-5.003(62),_RA i C). 

Listed Species: Listed species are those plant and animal species classified as either Endangered, 
Threatened, or Species of Special Concern in Florida's Endangered Species. Threatened Species and 
Species of Special Concern: Official Lists , published by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish 
Commission. 

Low Income Household: A household with an annual income higher than 50 percent and below 80 
percent of the median annual income. 

Major Disaster: A disaster that will likely exceed local capabilities and require a broad range of 
state and federal assistance, such as a hurricane. 

Marine League: A unit of linear measure equal to three nautical miles. A nautical mile equals 
6,076.12 feet. 

Mesic Hammock: An upland natural community characterized as an open canopy forest of widely 
spaced pine trees with little or no understory, but a dense ground cover of herbs and shrubs. 



! 



B-3 

amended August 28, 1997 



Minor Disaster: A disaster that is likely to be within the response capabilities of local government 
and to result in only a minimal need for state and federal assistance, such as a tropical storm. 

Moderate Income Household: A household with an annual income higher than 80 percent and less 
than 95 percent of the median annual income. 

Monthly (Home)owner Costs: The sum of payments for mortgages, deeds of trust, contracts to 
purchase or similar debts on the property (including payments for the first mortgage, second or junior 
mortgages, and home equity loans); real estate taxes; fire, hazard and flood insurance on the 
property; utilities (electricity, gas, and water); and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). It also 
includes, where appropriate, the monthly condominium fee for condominiums and mobile home 
costs (personal property taxes, site rent, registration fees, and license fees) for mobile homes. 

Natural Resource of Regional Significance: A natural resource or system of interrelated natural 
resources, that due to its function, size, rarity or endangerment retains or provides benefit of regional 
significance to the natural or human environment (27E-5. 002(4), F.A.C. V Natural resources of 
regional significance may be referred to as "regional ly significant resources" in state law and other 
Strategic Regional Policy Plans. 

No n institutionalized Civilian Labor Force: Persons age 16 and over, excluding inmates of 
institutions and military personnel, classified as "employed" or "unemployed" by the U.S. Bureau 
of the Census. 

Noninstitutionalized Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: The percentage of 
noninstitutionalized civilians age 16 and over who are either employed or are seeking employment. 

Occupation: A craft, trade, or profession, or other means of earning a living. The occupational 
classification system developed for the 1990 Census, which consists of 500 specific occupational 
categories for employed persons arranged into six summary and 13 major occupational groups. This 
classification was developed by the U.S. Bureau of the Census to be consistent with the Standard 
Occupational Classification Manual: 1980, published by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and 
Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce. 

Overall Economic Development Plan: An economic development plan for the North Central 
Florida region developed under guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The 
OEDP is the guiding plan for the activities of the North Central Florida Economic Development 
District. 

Overcrowding: A dwelling unit with more than 1.0 persons (residents) per room. 

Packet-switching Telephone Networks: Telephone networks designed exclusively for use by 
computers. 



B-4 
amended August 28, 1997 



\ 



> 



Paratransit: Those elements of public transit which provide service between specific origins and 
destinations selected by the individual user with such service being provided at a time that is agreed 
upon by the user and the provider of the service. Paratransit service is provided by taxis, limousines, 
'dial-a-ride' buses, and other demand-responsive operations that are characterized by their 
nonscheduled, nonfixed route nature (341.031(5), F.S. (1993)). 

Policy: A way by which programs and activities are conducted to achieve identified goals. 

Poverty Threshold (or Poverty Level/Line): As defined by the Bureau of the Census. The average 
poverty threshold for a family of four was $12,674 in 1989. Poverty thresholds were applied on a 
national basis and were not adjusted for regional, state, or local variations in the cost of living. For 
a fuller discussion of poverty thresholds, see U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 
1990 Census of Population. Social and Economic Characteristics. Florida . Section 2 of 3, pages B-27 
through B-29, Washington, D.C., 1992. 

Public Facilities: Transportation systems or facilities, sewer systems or facilities, solid waste 
systems or facilities, drainage systems or facilities, potable water systems or facilities, educational 
systems or facilities, parks and recreation systems or facilities and public health systems or facilities 
(9J-5.003(105),RA i C). 

Public Transit: The transporting of people by conveyances, or systems of conveyances, traveling 
on land or water, local or regional in nature, and available for use by the public. Public transit 
systems may be either governmentally owned or privately owned. Public transit specifically includes 
those forms of transportation commonly known as 'Paratransit' (341.031(6), F.S. (1993)). 

Recharge: The process whereby rain water or surface water seeps into the ground and enters an 

aquifer. 

Regional Indicator(s): Associated with regional goals. A statement of baseline information against 
which progress can be measured in the region's five-year evaluation and appraisal report. 

Regulatory Environment: All government plans, goals, policies, standards, and regulations which 
directly or indirectly affect land and land development. 

Rookery: The nesting or breeding grounds of gregarious (i.e., social) birds or mammals; also a 
colony of such birds or mammals. 

Sandhill Community: An upland natural community located on a well-drained, natural elevation, 
ridge, or rolling ridges of sand characterized as a forest of widely spaced pine trees with a sparse 
understory of turkey oaks and a dense ground cover of grasses and herbs. 

Second Magnitude Spring: A spring which discharges between ten and 100 cubic feet of water per 
second. 

B-5 

amended August 28, 1997 



Silviculture: A branch of forestry dealing with the establishment, development, reproduction, and 
care of forest areas. 

Softwood: Wood from trees such as pine trees used to make paper and similar products. 

Stream-to-sink Watersheds: Drainage basins containing one or more sinkholes which, in some 
cases, have direct connection to the Floridan Aquifer. 

Storm Surge: The rise in sea water level accompanying the approach of a hurricane. The extent of 
storm surge varies with the strength of the hurricane, coastal topography, and tides. Storm surge is 
compounded by wind-driven wave action on top of the surge water level. 

Storm Water Runoff: Water that originates from the drainage of land surfaces after a rain event. 

Submergence: The act of covering or overflowing with water. 

Suwannee River System: The Suwannee River and its major tributaries (i.e., the Alapaha, 
Ichetucknee, Santa Fe, and Withlacoochee rivers). 

Taxable Value: That portion of the assessed value of real property which is taxed for purposes of 
valorem property taxation. 

Tenure: The ownership status of housing unit residents. Residents are typically classified by the 
U.S. Bureau of the Census as either owners or renters. 

Third Magnitude Spring: A spring which discharges one to 10 cubic feet of water per second. 

Trace: A course or path. 

Transportation Demand Management: Strategies designed to reduce the number of trips made 
by single occupancy vehicles and enhance the regional mobility of all citizens. These strategies 
include but are not limited to encouragement and enhancement of traditional ridesharing (carpooling 
and vanpooling), public transportation, alternative work hours (flextime, compressed work week, 
etc.), non-motorized transportation (bicycle and pedestrian modes), priority of preferential parking 
for ridesharers, and development and implementation of shuttle services. Also included in the 
promotion of telecommuting programs. 

Transportation Disadvantaged: Those persons who because of physical or mental disability, 
income status, or age are unable to transport themselves or to purchase transportation and are, 
therefore, dependent upon others to obtain access to health care, employment, education, shopping, 
social activities, or other life-sustaining activities, or children who are handicapped or high risk or 
at-risk as defined in s.41 1.202, F.S. (427.01 1(1), F.S. (1993)). 



B-6 
amended August 28, 1997 



Transportation Management Organization: An organization which is formed by private 
^ organizations such as local businesses, corporate employers, and developers and sometimes 
partnered with local, regional, or state agencies to address community transportation problems. 

Very Low Income Household: A household with an annual income below 50 percent of the median 
annual income. — 

Vulnerable Zone: An area where the estimated chemical concentration from an accidental release 
is at a level where people's health could be adversely impacted during a worst-case release. 

Wetland: An area which has hydric soils and hydrophilic vegetation where the ground is saturated 
for a portion of the year. 



J 



B-7 
amended August 28, 1997 



C. MAPS OF NATURAL RESOURCES OF REGIONAL 

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D. LISTED SPECIES HABITAT DESCRIPTIONS 122 



Reprinted from Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals, Rare and Endangered Biota of 
Florida. Volumes 1-5, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 1992, and Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 
Volumes 3, 4, and 5, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 1978. 



amended August 28, 1997 



*> 



ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLE (Macrolemys temmincki) 

HABITAT: Typically, the Alligator Snapping Turtle is found in deep rivers and canals, but it is also 
found in lakes and swamps, especially those located near deep running water. Occasionally it is 
found in brackish water. This turtle is highly aquatic, rarely emerging from the water except for 
nesting purposes, and this may account for its failure to colonize apparently suitable habitat in the 
small, Panhandle rivers mentioned above. 

AMERICAN ALLIGATOR {Alligator mississippiensis) 

HABITAT: The Alligator is generally distributed in the various wetland types throughout the state, 
including the edges of large lakes and ponds, rivers, and the interiors of swamps and freshwater 
marshes. The reptile apparently is very adaptive and may be equally at home in ponds and lakes in 
urban areas or in the middle of the Everglades. Although not generally associated with salt water, 
it may occasionally enter brackish or even salt water habitats. 

AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus palliatus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: The American Oystercatcher needs 
extensive beach, sandbar, mudflat, and mollusk beds for feeding and roosting. Oystercatchers feed 
on almost any nonvegetative life that can be gleaned from wet substrates by walking and wading. 
Listed among their foods are bivalves, gastropods, marine worms, crustaceans, small fish, and many 
insects (Bent 1929; Murphy 1936). Oystercatchers prefer large, sparsely vegetated sand areas for 
nesting, but will use wrack and marsh grass (Lauro, 1989). 

ARCTIC PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco pereginus tundrius) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TRENDS: Although migrant and wintering 
Peregrine Falcons may occur anywhere in Florida, they rely mainly on open terrain that permits the 
detection and pursuit of avian prey, which must be abundant and consistently available. Typical 
habitats include coastal and barrier island shorelines, lake and river margins, prairies, coastal ponds, 
sloughs, and marshes, and urban areas with adequate prey (Snyder 1978; Evans 1982; Palmer and 
White 1988). 

Sherrod's (1978) summary of nine Peregrine studies indicated that birds comprised 70-100% of the 
diet. Waterfowl and shorebirds are particularly important prey (Howell 1932; Sprunt 1954; Sherrod 
1978). The Peregrine's choice of habitats obviously is related to its prey preferences and foraging 
methods. 



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amended August 28, 1997 



Wetlands in Florida were reduced from about 7,000,000 ha in 1954 to only 1,500,000 ha by 1982 
(Mitsch and Gosselink 1986). The development of coastal wetlands, where Peregrines most 
frequently occur, accounts for much of this habitat loss. 

ATLANTIC RIDLEY TURTLE {Lepidochelys kempi) 

LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: Atlantic Ridleys are associated with a wide range of coastal 
benthic habitats, usually sand or mud bottoms, that support an abundant fauna of crustaceans and 
other invertebrates. Their primary prey consists of portunid crabs, especially the genus Callinectes. 
However, other crab species are consumed, along with molluscs and other benthic species. 

ATLANTIC STURGEON {Acipenser oxyrhynchus) 

HABITAT: Acipenser oxyrinchus is an anadromous species, spending most of its adult life in salt 
or brackish water and during certain years moving into fresh water to spawn. It frequently enters 
the ocean, where it may make extensive coastal migrations, and has been found in water as deep as 
46 m (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953). It is less closely restricted to fresh water than A. brevirostrum, 
and in the St. John River estuary (New Brunswick) large juveniles of the two species were found 
to be ecologically separated on the basis of salinity, A. oxyrinchus predominating in water of >3 ppt 
and A. brevirostrum predominating in water of <3 ppt (Appy and Dadswell 1978; Dadswell 1979). 
As a result of its movements in the ocean and into fresh water, the Atlantic sturgeon encounters a 
broad range of substrates (ranging from soft mud to hard rock) and may occur in water of widely 
varying clarity. The species usually is found in areas devoid of submergent aquatic vegetation. 
Little or no current is usually present, except when the species enters rivers and moves upstream to 
spawn. Spawning occurs in areas with strong water movement, and the early life stages are spent 
under these conditions. 

AUTUMN CORALROOT {Corallorhiza odontorhiza) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

BALD EAGLE {Hialaeetus leucocephalus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Although Bald Eagles occur in a wide 
variety of habitats throughout their range, proximity to water is important. Preferred habitat includes 
a high amount of water-to-land edge where prey is concentrated (Palmer 1988). Bald Eagles feed 
primarily on fish, but birds, smaller mammals, and carrion are also utilized. In north-central Florida 
freshwater catfish (Ictalurus spp.) and American Coot (Fulica americana) make up the bulk of the 
Bald Eagle's diet (McEwan and Hirth 1980), whereas in Florida Bay sea catfish (Arius Felis), mullet 
(Mugil spp.), and assorted wading birds (up to the size of Great White Heron, Ardea herodias) are 



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amended August 28, 1997 



taken (Curnutt, unpubl. data). Nesting habitat generally consists of older, taller trees with an 
unimpeded view of the surrounding area. A notable exception in Florida is found on the small keys 
of Florida Bay where the virtual absence of both mammalian predators and tall emergent trees has 
led to nesting within the crowns of mangroves, on nest platforms built by Great White Herons, and 
nesting on the ground (Shea and Robertson 1979) . 

Under natural conditions habitat suitability of an area remains relatively constant so long as prey 
density is not diminished. The structural dynamics of undisturbed forests may lead to a decrease in 
the availability of emergent trees (i.e., the Gulf Coast mangrove forest of Everglades National Park), 
in which case eagles will occupy emergents along the inland edge of the forest if available. Much 
suitable Bald Eagle habitat in Florida has been developed for urban and recreational use. 
Recreational use of coastal areas and feeding areas while not affecting the structural integrity of 
suitable habitat, may have adverse effects on eagles during the breeding season by disrupting 
incubation and feeding of offspring and the ability to procure prey. 

BARTRAM'S IXIA (Sphenostigma coelistina) 

HABITAT: This is a plant of the wet, level grassy flatwoods, almost always under scattered slash 
or longleaf pines. It is associated with Aletris obovata, Asclepias michauxii, Cleistes divaricata, 
Ctenium floridanum, Polygala ramosa, Psorlea virgata, Tephrosia hispidula, and other Coastal 
Plain species of limited distribution. The dominant vegetation is usually Wiregrass, Aristida stricta. 
In the prolonged absence of fires this association becomes densely covered with grasses and other 
herbs, and the Ixia ceases to flower and seems almost to disappear. In the spring after a fire has 
removed the herbaceous cover, the Ixia produces a showy display of hundreds of plants where none 
was seen before. Then, with successive fireless years, the number of blooms dwindles annually, 
until again few or none are to be seen. 

BLACK SKIMMER {Rynchops niger) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Black Skimmers depend on healthy 
estuaries for feeding and on undisturbed coastlines for breeding and loafing. In Florida, colonies are 
located on dredge-material islands, natural sandbars, small coastal islands, and beaches with little 
vegetation usually within sight of open water (Schreiber and Schreiber 1978; Kale 1979; Clapp et 
al. 1983). In some parts of their range, but not yet in Florida, Black Skimmers nest on wrack in salt 
marshes (see literature review in Spendelow and Patton 1988; Burger and Gochheld 1990). This 
behavior is apparently of recent origin and is believed to be related to increasing human use of 
beaches. Skimmers require an adequate prey base of small fish near their nesting colonies. 
Skimmers are opportunistic feeders, taking any small fish of suitable size. They rely heavily on 
silversides {Menidia spp.), killifishes {Fundulus spp.), anchovies {Anchoa spp.), and mullet (Mugil 
spp.) (Erwin 1977; Loftin 1982; King 1989). Most prey items are less than 100 mm long (Loftin 



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amended August 28, 1997 



1982; King 1989). Prey may range in weight from about 0.5 to 14.5 g (Loftin 1982; King 1989). 
Shrimp also are taken "coincidentally" (Barbour 1978). 

BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Nesting sites used by Brown Pelicans 
in Florida have consistently been small to medium-sized islands (most <5 ha, some to 10 ha), and 
most have been located along the Intracoastal Waterway. Only 4 of 49 sites used for nesting were 
not originally vegetated with mangrove (Avicennia germinans and Rhizophora mangle). Nesting 
occurs from 0.5-10.7 m above the high tide line (Schreiber 1978). In addition to nesting sites, 
Brown Pelicans require loafing and roosting habitats. Sand bars are "an important, non-nesting 
habitat used for roosting and loafing" (Schreiber and Schreiber 1982). Loafing and roosting 
mangrove islands often evolve into nesting sites after a period of increasing use (Schreiber and 
Schreiber 1982). Feeding habitat is not well understood and should be better researched since access 
to prey in adequate abundance is essential for successful reproduction (Anderson et al. 1 982). 

Many (>75%) of the Florida nesting sites are on state or federal land (Williams et al. 1980). There 
is no security or protection for non-nesting habitats and undoubtedly many important sites have been 
lost to direct or indirect degradation through disturbance (Schreiber and Schreiber 1982) or pollution. 

BURROWING OWL (Speotyto cunicularia) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Florida Burrowing Owls typically occur 
in open, well-drained treeless areas where herbaceous ground cover is short. These requirements 
were met historically in Florida on the dry prairies of the central peninsula in the vicinity of burns 
and along the margins of depressional marshes during dry periods (Howell 1932; Bent 1938 ). Land 
clearing and wetland drainage have greatly expanded the amount of suitable Burrowing Owl habitat 
in Florida, and these activities probably played a major role in the range expansion of this species 
since the 1940s. Currently, Burrowing Owls still occur in dry prairies in central Florida, although 
they are most often associated with such unnatural elevated features as canal banks and road berms. 
In addition, they occur in tame-grass pastures, on airports, golf courses, athletic fields, and in 
partially developed residential and industrial areas where expanses of mowed lawn and ruderal 
grassland are maintained. The latter areas probably support the largest concentrations of Burrowing 
Owls in Florida at the present time. In Cape Coral, Burrowing Owls appear to prefer areas where 
developed lots occupy between 25 and 75% of the landscape (Wesemann and Rowe 1987). 
Burrowing Owl nesting density decreases under more or less intensive development (Wesemann and 
Rowe 1987). Although far from conclusive, these observations suggest that Burrowing Owl 
populations may actually thrive in some developing areas, but then decrease or collapse when the 
amount of developed land exceeds some critical, but unknown and probably variable, threshold. R 
Ashton (pers. comm.) found Burrowing Owls in Sumter, Lake and Marion counties most likely to 



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nest in pastures that had been cleared for at least 4 years and that were heavily grazed. 

CATESBY'S LILY {Lillium catesbaei) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

DWARF SPLEENWORT (Asplenium pumilum) 

HABITAT: This species is found only on limestone or other calcareous rocks in most hammocks. 
It cannot stand removal of the forest covering. 

EASTERN INDIGO SNAKE (Drymarchon corais couperi) 

HABITAT: In peninsular Florida, the Indigo Snake may be found in habitats ranging from 
mangrove swamps and wet prairies to xeric pinelands and scrub. In the northern parts of its range, 
it typically winters in Gopher Tortoise {Gopherus polyphemus) burrows on the higher sand ridges, 
although it may forage in more hydric habitats during the warmer months. 

FLORIDA CORKWOOD {Leitneria floridand) 

HABITAT: This is a plant of muddy riverbanks and sawgrass marshes, usually within reach of occasional 
seawater inundations. It is usually in the open, but may grow at the edge of swampy woods. 

FLORIDA BLACK BEAR (Ursus americanus Jloridanus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Black bears use a wide variety of forested 
landscapes, from temperate plant communities in northwestern Florida to subtropical communities in 
southern Florida. Some of the more important forest types include pine flatwoods, hardwood swamp, 
cypress swamp, cabbage palm forest, sand pine scrub, and mixed hardwood hammock. A combination of 
several major forest types is typical of occupied bear range. As with black bears in other parts of their range, 
seasonal changes in habitat use occur in response to food availability (Pelton 1982). In the Osceola National 
Forest, black bears use forested wetlands in greater proportion than available, and flatwoods in lower 
proportion than available. Mykytka and Pelton (1989) found that swamps larger than 150 ha were important 
components of bear habitat in Osceola National Forest. In the Ocala National Forest, bears prefer flatwoods 
and avoid longleaf pine forests (Wooding and Hardisky 1988). 

Cover, especially for the female's denning requirements, also is an essential habitat component. Beds 
usually are located in remote swamps or thickets. Nests measure 45-75 cm across and 5-17 cm deep and 
often occur in a nearly impenetrable tangle of vines and stems characterized by Lyonia lucida, Lyonia 
ferruginea, Clethra alnifoli, Serenoa repens, Ilex glabra, and Smilax spp. Shrub cover at denning sites is 
usually dense, with midstory and overstory sparse (J.B. Wooding, unpubl. data). Bears in Florida also may 
use hollow trees for denning. 



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1 



The diet of black bears in Florida varies both temporally and geographically (Maehr and Brady 
1982a, 1984a, 19846) and includes a great variety of plants and animals (Maehr and DeFazio 1985). 
As with black bears in other parts of their range, Florida bears follow a chronology of food 
availability from herbaceous matter in early spring, to soft fruits in summer, to hard mast during fall 
(Pelton 1982:508). Major food items are the fruits and hearts of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and 
cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) and the fruits of swamp tupelo (Nyssa biflora), oaks (Qmrcus spp.), 
blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), and gallberry (Hex glabra). These species are found throughout the state 
and probably account for nearly 80 percent of the diet. Insects are the most important animal food, 
with the introduced honey bee (Apis mellifera) occurring most frequently. Other important insects 
include yellow jackets (Vespula spp.), carpenter ants (Campanotus abdominalis floridanus), bessie 
bugs (Odontotaenius disjunctus), and walking sticks (Anisomorpha buprestoides). For some plants 
requiring acid scarification of seeds, the black bear may act as an important agent of dispersal and 
germination (Maehr 19846). 

FLORIDA MILKWEED (Matelea floridana) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

FLORIDA MOUSE (Podomys floridanus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: The Florida mouse is narrowly restricted 
to fire-maintained, xeric, upland vegetation occurring on deep, well-drained sandy soils. Specific 
plant communities in which the species has been recorded include sand pine scrub, coastal scrub, 
scrubby flatwoods, longleaf pine-turkey oak (sandhill), south Florida slash pine-turkey oak (southern 
ridge sandhill), upland hammock, live oak (xeric) hammock, and drier pine flatwoods (Bangs 1898; 
Layne 1963, 1978; Stout 1979). Occasional occurrences in such atypical habitats as mesic 
hammock, seasonal pond margin, freshwater marsh, and oldfields probably represent transients 
(Layne 1990). The two major habitats of the Florida mouse are scrub, including sand pine scrub and 
scrubby flatwoods, and sandhill. Scrub is the primary habitat and probably more closely similar to 
the ancestral habitat, while sandhill vegetation is a secondary habitat that may not have been 
generally occupied until historic times when the original state of the habitat - a pine savanna - was 
converted as a result of human disturbance (logging of pines and fire suppression) to a drier, more 
open condition more suitable for Florida mice (Layne 1990). A major difference in the two 
vegetation types is in the number of species and density of oaks. Scrub has a well-developed shrub 
layer usually dominated by three or four species of oaks, whereas sandhill characteristically has one 
major species, turkey oak, usually occurring in a relatively open stand. In addition to their greater 
abundance, scrub oak species also tend to have higher and more consistent acorn production than 
turkey oak (Layne 1990). The difference in acorn production between scrub and sandhill association 
is reflected in numerous demographic and behavioral differences between Florida mouse populations 
in these habitats. 



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amended August 28, 1997 



The combination of more widespread xeric vegetation and greatly expanded peninsular Florida land- 
mass during the Late Wisconsinan glacial stage (Watts 1980) suggests that Podomys may have had 
a larger and more continuous distribution during that period than by the end of the Holocene, when 
the sea had risen to its present level, accompanied by large-scale replacement of xeric habitats by 
more mesic or hydric associations. During historic times, there has been a continuing loss of xeric 
upland habitats to real estate development and agricultural use. Much of the sand-pine scrub 
association along the Atlantic coast has been destroyed, with resultant loss of Podomys populations. 
The same is true of the more disjunct scrubs along the Gulf coast of the peninsula. Vast areas of the 
original sandhill vegetation along the Lake Wales Ridge have been converted to citrus groves, and 
only a few small remnants continue to support Podomys populations. An example of the magnitude 
of Florida mouse habitat loss in some areas is provided by data compiled for Highlands County by 
Peroni (1983). During the period from 1940-44 to 1981, approximately 64 percent of the xeric 
upland habitat suitable for Podomys was destroyed and an additional 1 percent was disturbed. 
Since 1981, the rate of clearing of the remaining scrub and sandhill habitats for development and 
citrus has escalated sharply. In the northern portion of the range, many former sandhill and scrub 
sites have been converted to pine plantations. In addition, suppression of fire and the resultant 
successional changes have resulted in further reduction or elimination of Podomys populations in 
many remaining sandhill and scrub habitats. 

FLORIDA PINE SNAKE {Pitophis melanoleucus mugitus) 

HABITAT: The Florida Pine Snake occupies xeric sites, including Longleaf Pine-xerophytic oak 
woodlands, Sand Pine scrub, pine flatwoods on well drained soils, and old fields on former sandhill 
sites. Radio-telemetry studies in sandhill habitats in northern Florida indicate that this species 
prefers High Pine (Longleaf Pine-Turkey Oak association) and old fields over Sand Live Oak 
hammocks and other forest types with heavy canopies. Under drought conditions, Pine Snakes seek 
open habitats surrounding wetlands. Two radio-tracked females exhibited home ranges of 1 1 and 
12 ha (27.5 and 30 ac) each, while 3 males used areas 2-8 times larger in size. The Florida Pine 
Snake is extremely fossorial, particularly seeking out the tunnel systems of pocket gophers and, to 
a lesser extent, the burrows of Gopher Tortoises. Radio-tracked snakes were observed to dig open 
pocket gopher mounds using methods described by Carpenter (1982) for the closely related 
Bullsnake (Pituophis melanoleucus sayi). Radio-tracked snakes were active between March and 
October but showed their greatest activity in May, June, July, and October. During these months, 
they made the greatest numbers of moves and traveled the greatest distances. 



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amended August 28, 1997 



FLORIDA SANDHILL CRANE (Grus canadensis pratensis) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Mean annual home-range size for 31 
Florida Sandhill Cranes was 936 ha. Home range averaged 447 ha for 20 adult pairs and 2,132 ha 
for 9 subadults (Nesbitt and Williams 1990). The two most frequently used habitats were 
pastures/prairies and emergent palustrine wetlands dominated by pickerelweed (Pontedaria cor data) 
and maidencane (Panicum hemitomon). Cranes also showed a preference for transition zones 
between wetlands and pastures/prairies and between pastures/prairies and forested habitats. During 
summer, to avoid the heat of the day, cranes will either stand motionless in full shade or in a marsh 
area. Recently, the reduction in suitable wetland habitat, pointed out by Williams (1978), may have 
slowed somewhat due to concern for wetland protection. However, the loss of open, upland habitat, 
also critical to the subspecies, continues (Bishop 1988; Nesbitt and Williams 1990). 

FLORIDA SCRUB-JAY {Aphelocoma coerulescens) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TRENDS: The oak scrub to which Florida 
Scrub- Jays are restricted is a peculiar vegetation formation found only on extremely well-drained 
sandy soils formed by old coastal dunes or paleodunes (Laessle 1958, 1968). Davis (1967) mapped 
the scrubs of Florida. 

The indigenous plants are adapted to nutrient-poor soils, periodic drought, high seasonal rainfall, and 
frequent fires. The most characteristic and, for the jays, essential plants are four stunted, 
low-growing oaks, which occur in varying percentages in scrubs around the peninsula: Quercus 
Geminata, Q. chapmanii, Q. myrtifolia and Q. inopina (the last is endemic to the Florida interior, 
mainly on the Lake Wales Ridge). In optimal habitat most of the oaks and other shrubs are between 
1 and 4 m tall, and interspersed with numerous, small patches of bare sand. Trees are few and 
scattered, with canopy cover rarely exceeding 15% in occupied habitat. Herbaceous vegetation is 
sparse. The dominant trees are slash pines (Pinus elliottis) and sand pines (P. clausa). Slash pines 
tend to occur in lower areas, sand pines and Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides) on the highest 
dune tops. Along with the oaks, two palmettos (Serenoa repens and Sabal etonia [interior only]), 
and several woody shrubs (especially of genera Lyronia, Vaccinium, Carya, Befaria, and 
Osmanthus) comprise most of the remaining dominant plants. 

Fire is a frequent natural event in scrub habitats. From May to September, ground strikes by 
lightning are common in peninsular Florida. Lightning fires probably occurred at intervals of 8-20 
years in most types of scrub during presettlement times (Myers 1990; Ostertag and Menges 1994). 
Natural fires usually leave many patches of scrub unburned. As a result entire Florida Scrub- Jay 
territories (average 10 ha or 25 ac.) rarely are completely burned. 



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amended August 28, 1997 



Elimination of scrub habitat through human activities has occurred throughout the Florida 
Scrub-Jay's native range. Conversion of scrub habitat to citrus groves and dwellings proceeded 
throughout the 20th century, with rapid acceleration in the 1950s and 1960s. Continued loss of 
habitat to rural residential development, mobile-home parks, industrial construction, shopping malls, 
golf courses and other recreational uses closely tracked the rapid growth of the human population 
in Florida throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Conversion of scrub to citrus groves no doubt^liminated 
scrub and jays from hundreds of xeric-soil patches as early as the 1920s. Major killing freezes 
caused rapid southward expansion of the citrus industry in the 1970s and 1980s, especially in the 
interior peninsula, which resulted in the elimination of much additional scrub. Scrub land vacated 
by citrus growers is not restored to its natural condition and rarely reverts to a habitat suitable for 
Florida Scrub- Jays. 

Fire suppression by humans has caused many of the remaining patches of scrub to become tall (>3 
m) and dense, with a canopy of oaks and pines and a thick leaf litter. Under these conditions, death 
rates for breeding adults exceeds recruitment (Fitzpatrick and Woolfenden 1986). This demographic 
scenario inevitably causes the jays to die out. Entire local populations of Florida Scrub- Jays have 
disappeared as a result, despite the persistence of native xeric vegetation. 

FLORIDA WILLOW {Salixfloridana) 

FIABITAT: Salixfloridana grows only in very wet soils, usually in dense, swampy woods. It often 
favors the edges of cool, clear spring runs, as along the Ichetucknee River and in swamps south of 
Interlachen, Putnam County. 

GOPHER (CRAWFISH) FROG (Rana capito) 

FIABITAT: Most records of the species in Florida are from native, xeric, upland habitats, 
particularly longleaf pine-Turkey Oak sandhill associations which, are not coincidentally, often 
support the densest populations of Gopher Tortoises. They also are known from pine flatwoods, 
sand pine scrub, xeric hammocks, and ruderal successional stages of these plant communities. 
Preferred breeding habitats include seasonally flooded, grassy ponds and cypress heads that lack fish 
populations. Populations of Gopher Frogs are known only from sites that support Gopher Tortoises. 
Even prime sandhill habitat, if more than a mile front suitable breeding sites, rarely supports Gopher 
Frogs. 

GOPHER TORTOISE (Gopherus polyphemus) 

HABITAT: Three environmental conditions are especially important: well-drained loose soil in 
which to burrow, adequate low-growing herbs for food, and open sunlit sites for nesting. The 
Gopher Tortoise is primarily associated with Longleaf Pine-Xerophytic Oak Woodlands (sandhills), 



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amended August 28, 1997 



but it is also found in Sand Pine scrub, coastal strands, Live Oak hammocks, dry prairies, pine 
flatwoods, and mixed hardwood-pine communities. Disturbed habitats, such as roadsides, 
fencerows, clearings, and old fields, often support relatively high densities. 

GREEN ADDER'S-MOUTH (Malaxis unifolia) 

HABITAT: The plants are usually found in the partial shade of second-growth mixed oak-pine 
woods. 

LEAST TERN {Sterna antillarum) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Nesting habitat of the Least Tern has 
been characterized in detail by several authors (Jernigan et al 1978; Thompson and Slack 1982; 
Gochfeld 1983; Kotliar and Burger 1986), and Gochfeld (1983) and Carreker (1985) prepared 
models to evaluate potential nesting habitat. Least Terns routinely select a nesting site with a 
substrate of sand or gravel. Substrate composition varies among sites, but light colored sands with 
less than 20% shell fragments are typical. Shell fragments make the eggs more difficult to see and 
may keep sand from blowing onto the nest. Clays or other fine materials are unsuitable for nesting 
substrate because they do not drain well and may stick to the eggs (Thompson and Slack 1982). 

Most nesting sites are nearly bare and few have vegetation covering more than 20% of the area; but, 
as with the substrate, the amount of vegetation that will be tolerated is variable. Colonies that have 
been successful at a given site in past years are likely to tolerate more vegetation (Burger 1984; 
Kotliar and Burger 1986). Vegetation at nesting sites is usually short, thus providing cover chicks 
but not for large predators. 

The Least Tern historically nested along the coast on broad, sparsely vegetated sandy beaches (Bent 
1921; Gochfeld 1983). Unfortunately, as the human population has increased, many of the 
traditional Least Tern nesting sites have been usurped by human activities and buildings. The loss 
of nesting habitat apparently began earlier in the northeast (Nisbet 1973) than in the mid- Atlantic 
or southeast (Downing 1973; Gochfeld 1983). The loss of traditional nesting areas has been offset 
somewhat by the creation of new nesting habitat. Least Terns now nest in a variety of artificial open 
habitats such as dredged-material deposits (Downing 1973; Jernigan, et al. 1978), gravel-covered 
roofs (Fisk 1975), and ground cleared by mining, construction, and other activities (Lohrer and 
Lohrer 1973; Loftin 1973; Maehr 1982; Gore 1991). 



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LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TRENDS: The apple snail appears to be the most 
important habitat requirement of Limpkins, as their distributions are almost identical (Harper 1936). 
Limpkins are found along the wide and well-vegetated shallows of rivers and streams statewide, as 
well as around lakes in peninsular Florida and in the marshes, broad swales, strand swamps, sloughs, 
and impoundments in south Florida Much natural riparian habitat has been reduced or degraded by 
human activities, including agricultural conversion, river channelization, wetland drainage, aquifer 
and surface water depletion, and the introduction of exotic aquatic plants. While the steady trend 
of habitat loss has certainly slowed considerably, piecemeal conversion and the spread of exotic 
plants continue. Nests are built in an impressively wide variety of situations. These include on piles 
of slowly-sinking aquatic vegetation, among tall marsh grasses, especially bulrush (Scirpus spp.), 
between the knees of bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), in vine-covered shrubs, in the tops of sabal 
palms {Sabal palmetto), and on high cypress branches. An abandoned Osprey nest also was recorded 
to have been used and a cypress tree cavity 30 feet high was used by one individual for several years 
(Bryan 1992). In all these sites any usable material is pulled from nearby or, rarely, carried to 
construct the piled or crudely woven nest. 

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: As with other ardeids, the Little Blue 
Heron requires relatively shallow freshwater, brackish, and saltwater foraging habitats that provide 
access to adequate prey. The Little Blue's diet is quite diverse and includes fishes, amphibians, and 
invertebrates (Meanley 1955; Jenni 1969; Domby and McFarlane 1978; Telfair 1981; Rodgers 
1982). Little Blue Herons nesting in marine-estuarine regions often will fly inland to forage at 
freshwater sites (Rodgers 1982), possibly as a consequence of nestlings being intolerant of a high 
salt content of prey. 

Breeding habitat requirements for Little Blue Herons are similar to other ardeids (Rodgers 1980b). 
Little Blue Herons nest in a variety of woody vegetation including cypress (Taxodium distichum), 
southern willow (Salix caroliniana), red maple (Acer rubrum), buttonbush (Cephalanthus 
occidentalis), red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), cabbage 
palm (Sabel palmetto), and Brazilian pepperbush (Schinus terebenthifolius). Little Blue Herons 
usually breed in mixed-species colonies located in flooded vegetation or on islands. 

In Florida, much alteration of freshwater and marine-estuarine foraging habitat has had an adverse 
effect on the Little Blue Heron and probably has contributed to a decrease in its population. Further 
degradation of the foraging habitat of all ardeids probably will occur in the future. 



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MARIAN'S MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris marianae) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TRENDS: Marsh Wrens breed in tidal marshes 
dominated by tall (1-2 m) vegetation, chiefly saltmarsh cordgrass {Spartina alterniflora) and black 
needlerush {Juncus roemerianus). Juncus is the dominant vegetation on the Gulf coast, and Spartina 
is dominant on the Atlantic coast. Wrens prefer the taller marsh vegetation that grows-along tidal 
creeks. Some habitat has been lost to the northward invasion of mangroves along both coasts. 
During the 1950s and 1960s, some habitat was lost to coastal dredge and fill operations, but for the 
most part habitat for the Marsh Wrens appears stable. 

NON-CRESTED COCO (Pteroglossaspis ecristata) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

PINEWOOD DAINTIES (FLORIDA LEAF FLOWER) (Phyllanthus liebmanianus) 

HABITAT: In Florida, this plant is found in low grassy pinelands and low hammocks. 

PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: The Piping Plover nests on sandy beaches 
along the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes, and on river sandbars and shallow alkali wetlands 
throughout the Great Plains region (USFWS 1985). Piping Plovers are primarily associated with 
barrier beach systems during the wintering period. Haig and Oring (1985) found plovers on sandy 
beaches adjacent to inlets on their winter survey of the Gulf of Mexico. Similarly, Nicholls and 
Baldassarre (1990b) observed plovers on accreting ends of barrier islands and spits, at coastal inlets, 
and on low-lying barrier islands with overwash intertidal flats. In this study, comparisons along 36 
Atlantic Coast and 75 Gulf Coast wintering sites indicated that foraging activity was most associated 
with sandflats (27%), mudflats (25%), sandy-mudflats (32%), and occasionally lower beach or 
foreshore (10%) and dredge spoil (6%). Roosting birds were primarily observed along the upper 
beach or berm area adjacent to intertidal feeding areas. However, more roosting sites need to be 
located and characterized to determine specific features because few roosting birds were found 
(Nicholls and Baldassarre 1990b). Nicholls and Baldassare (1990b) noted that sites with the highest 
concentrations of plovers such as Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area and Fort Desoto County 
Park (Pinellas County) consist of complex systems with expansive sand/mudflats in close proximity. 
These diverse coastal systems may concentrate plovers because of the juxtaposition of foraging and 
roosting areas. Winter habitat loss is difficult to document, but historical data suggests that 
degradation has occurred along portions of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts (Baldassarre 1986; Dyer et 
al. 1988; USFWS 1988, 1994, 1995). For example, on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, plovers were 
considered abundant from July to August (Bent 1929; Stevenson 1960), but now only number from 



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20-30 birds, excluding the Keys (Nicholls 1989). 

PONDSPICE {Litsea aestivalis) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

POPPY MALLOW (Callirhoe papaver) 

HABITAT: In Florida, Poppy Mallow is a plant of dry woodlands, upland areas with oak and 
usually pine. At times it persists along the upper unmowed edge of roadside rights-of-way. 

RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER (Picoides borealis) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: The distribution of the Red-cockaded 
Woodpecker is related closely to the occurrence of fire. Throughout Florida and the northern Gulf 
coast states, weather patterns associated with the Gulf of Mexico result in a frequency of electrical 
storms matched nowhere else in North America (Jackson et al.1986). Average annual thunderstorm 
frequency ranges from 90 days in central Florida to 60 days in the more northern portions of the 
southeastern United States. Prior to human intervention, lightning-caused fires occurred annually 
in peninsular Florida and at 3-5 year intervals elsewhere in the coastal plain (Komarek 1974). This 
fire-dominated community was the primary selective force in the formation of the southern pine 
ecosystem with which the Red-cockaded Woodpecker is so intricately associated. Under this fire 
regime, the southern pines evolved adaptations for fire resistance - their bark and needles form 
insulating layers that protect the growing tissues from fire (Jackson 1987). In turn, the 
Red-cockaded Woodpecker adapted to this fire-climax ecosystem by excavating cavities in 
fire-tolerant living pines. 

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers require old-growth, living pines for nesting and roosting. Although 
longleaf pine {Pinus palustris) is preferred when avail able (Hopkins and Lynn 1971; Lennartz et 
al. 1983a; Hovis and Labisky 1985), cavities also are constructed in loblolly {P. taeda), shortleaf (P. 
echinatd), pond (P. serotind), slash (P. elliottii), pitch (P. rigidd), and Virginia (P. virginiand) pines. 
Regardless of species, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers preferentially select old-age pines for cavity 
excavation (Hovis and Labisky 1985; Conner and O'Halloran 1987; DeLotelle and Epting 1988; 
Rudolph and Conner 1991). Average cavity-tree ages range between 63 and 130 years for longleaf 
pine and between 62 and 149 years for all other pine species (Hopkins and Lynn 1971; Jackson et 
al. 1979b; Wood 1983; Rudolph and Conner 1991). Cavity trees have thinner sapwood and greater 
heartwood diameter than other mature pines (Conner et al. 1 994) and typically are infected with 
Phellinns pini, a fungus that decays the heartwood and facilitates cavity excavation (Jackson 1977b; 
Conner and Locke 1982; Conner and O'Halloran 1987; Hooper 1988; Conner et al. 1994). Cavity 
excavation usually requires from one to several years, but once a cavity is completed it often is used 



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for many years (Jackson et al. 1 979b). Red-cockaded Woodpeckers always construct their cavities 
in live pines; however, after a cavity tree dies the birds may continue to use it for several years 
(Hooper 1982). The number of cavities per tree typically ranges between one and two (Hopkins and 
Lynn 1971; Shapiro 1983; Ho vis and Labisky 1985). 

Most active clusters occur in open, mature pine stands with sparse midstory vegetation. -Rangewide, 
overstory basal areas and stem densities within active clusters are consistently <18 m 2 /ha and <300 
stems/ha, respectively (Thompson and Baker 1971; Locke et al. 1983; Shapiro 1983; Hovis and 
Labisky 1985). Midstory basal area and stem density are typically <5.0 m 2 /ha and <400 stems/ha, 
respectively (Van Balen and Doerr 1978; Locke et al. 1983; Hovis and Labisky 1985). Although 
most biologists agree that Red-cockaded Woodpeckers cannot tolerate a well-developed hardwood 
midstory, Conner and Rudolph (1989) were the first to statistically correlate hardwood encroachment 
with cluster abandonment. 

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers feed primarily on arthropods (Bear 1911; Ligon 1970; Baker 1971), 
which they locate by scaling the bark from trees. Fruits and mast also may be eaten but comprise 
a minor portion of the diet. Throughout their range, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers prefer to forage 
in pine-dominated habitats, and within these habitats, large (>20 cm dbh) living pines are the 
preferred foraging substrate (Ramey 1980; Hooper and Lennartz 1981; DeLotelle et al.1983; Porter 
and Labisky 1986). However, home range size is variable and apparently is related to the amount 
and quality of available habitat. In general, home ranges tend to be larger in habitats with poorly 
stocked pine stands and a paucity of larger trees. In central and southern Florida, where the habitat 
is considered to be relatively poor (<7m 2 /ha pine basal area), home range size averages about 150 
ha (Nesbitt et al. 1983b; DeLotelle et al. 1987). In coastal South Carolina, where the habitat is better 
(pine basal area averages 11.8 m 2 /ha), home range size averages 86.9 ha (Hooper et al. 1982). 
Habitat in northern Florida appears to be intermediate between the two extremes. Porter and Labisky 
(1986) reported a mean home range size of 129 ha for a population on the Apalachicola National 
Forest and the birds preferred to forage in pine stands with a mean basal area of 16.1 m 2 /ha. 

Red-cockaded Woodpecker habitat, particularly nesting and roosting habitat, has declined 
throughout the species' range. Lennartz et al. (1983b) estimated that only 2.5% of the commercial 
pine acreage in the southeastern United States was suitable as nesting and roosting habitat. Between 
1953 and 1977, the amount of old-growth pine in the southeastern United States declined by 13%; 
the loss was most severe in the longleaf and slash pine forest type where a 25% decline occurred 
over the 25-year period. In Florida, the acreage of longleaf pine declined by 83% in the 30 years 
between 1950 and 1980 (Bechtold and Knight 1982). However, the reduction in old-growth pine 
forests has been most rapid on private lands where there are no legal requirements or incentives to 
perpetuate the habitat for this endangered species (Lennartz 1988). 



♦ 



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RIVER COOTER (Pseudemys concinna) 

HABITAT: In Florida, the River Cooter is restricted to rivers, spring runs, and associated 
backwaters and impoundments that drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Abundant aquatic vegetation, 
such as Naias and Sagittaria, is essential to maintaining healthy populations. Although this turtle 
has been reported from estuaries, river mouths, and marine grass flats, the salinities at- these sites 
have not been recorded, and the salinity tolerance of the species is poorly known. 

SANTA FE CAVE CRAYFISH {Procambarus erythrops) 

HABITAT: Procambarus erythrops occupies debris cones under large flooded sinkholes. As yet, 
no colonies have been found in association with bat colonies. Little or no water flow, other than 
vertical movements associated with local changes in the water table, has been noted in cave sites 
where this species occurs. This suggests that this species, like others in lucifugus complex, prefers 
the more stagnant portions of cave systems where detrital material can accumulate without being 
washed away. 

SCOTT'S SEASIDE SPARROW {Ammodramus maritimus pininsulae) 

See SEASIDE SPARROWS. 

SEASIDE SPARROWS {Ammodramus maritimus spp.) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TRENDS: Habitat for the Seaside Sparrow consists 
of saltmarshes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Optimal habitat on the Atlantic coast is the 
extensive tidal marshes that occur behind barrier islands and vegetated chiefly by saltmarsh cord 
grass {Spartina alterniflora) and (in Duval County) patches of black needlerush {Juncus 
roemerianus). On the Gulf coast optimal habitat is the mixture of dense stands of Juncus and 
Spartina, and scattered stands of salt grass (Distichlis spicata) that front on the Gulf of Mexico from 
Port Richey north to Apalachee Bay, and in the bays behind the barrier islands westward to 
Escambia Bay. Seaside Sparrows can tolerate early invasion of their grassy habitat by Red 
{Rhizophora mangle) and Black {Avicennia germinans) mangroves, but the sparrows abandon the 
site when these woody plants cover a major portion of the habitat. Nicholson (1946, 1950) 
documented the disappearance of Seaside Sparrows from the marshes near New Smyrna as 
mangroves moved northward. In the past, dredging and filling of coastal marshlands impacted 
Seaside Sparrow habitat, but current governmental policy against wetland destruction now protects 
the habitat. The impact of rising sea level on marsh stability over the next 50-100 years may be of 
some concern in the future. 



) 



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SHERMAN'S FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus niger shermani) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: The mature, fire-maintained longleaf 
pine-turkey oak sandhills and flatwoods are the optimal habitat for Sherman's fox squirrels. Only 
10-20 percent of the original habitat is still intact, however, having been greatly altered through 
extensive logging; conversion to pasture, single-stand short-rotation forestry, agricultural, 
commercial, and residential development; and by lack of fire (Bechtold an Knight 1982). Man's 
intense and widespread modification of the mature pine-oak communities of the sandhills has 
fragmented fox squirrel populations and reduced the quality of most remaining habitat. As habitat 
quality decreases, the area required to support viable squirrel populations increases. To 
accommodate the squirrel's large home range and varied food resources, suitable habitat must be 
fairly extensive and, in addition to the drier hilltops (upland), it should include the more productive 
lower slopes of the sandhills, where the predominant longleaf pines and turkey oaks are interspersed 
with sand post oak (Quercus stelata var. margaretta), live oak (Q. virginiana), laurel oak (Q. 
hemisphaerica), and bluejack oak (Q. incana). Kantola and Humphrey (1990) suggested that the 
highest-quality habitat might be along the edge of longleaf pine savanna and live oak forest, because 
live oak acorns appear to be a major food source when turkey oak acorn crops fail. 

Moore (1957) considered longleaf pine seeds and turkey oak acorns to be the primary foods of 
Sherman's fox squirrel. Kantola and Humphrey (1990), however, found production of these two 
seed crops to be extremely patchy, varying considerably from year to year and site to site. During 
mast failures of turkey oak, squirrels moved downslope to include live oak forest in their home 
ranges during the mast season. Consequently acorns of live oak appear to be a major component of 
the diet. Pine cones are cut from the trees from late May through October, beginning while they are 
still green. Acorns are harvested from both the trees and ground beginning in late September, and 
some are cached for later use. Other acorns and nuts, fungi, bulbs, vegetative buds, insects, and 
staminate pine cones also are eaten. Squirrel reproduction, and thus densities, may be expected to 
vary with resource abundance (Weigl et al. 1989). 

Tree cavities occasionally are used for nesting, but they apparently are not as important for 
Sherman's fox squirrel as they are for more northern squirrels. Instead, leaf nests are used 
extensively. These usually are located in large oaks and often contain Spanish moss (Tillandsia 
usneoids), which provides insulation. Turkey oaks in the low slopes of the sandhills typically are 
larger, have more Spanish moss, and produce more acorns than those in the upland, making the 
lower slopes a more important component of fox squirrel habitat. 



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\ 



SHORT-TAILED SNAKE (Stilosoma extenuatum) 

HABITAT: Stilosoma extenuatum is restricted chiefly to Longleaf Pine - Turkey Oak plant 
associations. It occasionally is found in upland hammock and Sand Pine scrub, hut is usually closely 
adjacent to Longleaf Pine - Turkey Oak stands. Two specimens were dug from a sphagnum bog 
adjacent to a stand of the typical habitat (Carr 1940 and personal communication). 

The ecological factors, other than preferred habitat distribution, which limit the distribution of this 
species are not known. Preliminary data indicate that the species selects Norfolk, Blanton fine, and 
St. Lucie soils over a variety of other types for burrowing when placed in choice situations. The 
extensive stands of Longleaf Pine-Turkey Oak habitat (now chiefly Turkey Oak) in Marion and Lake 
counties still maintain populations, and stands of apparently acceptable habitat still exist scattered 
elsewhere throughout its original range. 

SINGLE-SORUS SPLEENWORT {Asplemium monanthes) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

SINKHOLE FERN {Blechnum occidental) 

HABITAT: This fern is found in deep-shaded ravines or elsewhere in moist and dense hammocks. 
Occasionally it occurs on the sheer rock walls of spectacularly deep sinkholes, as near Newberry, 
Alachua County. 

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: The Snowy Egret in Florida nests in both 
coastal and inland wetlands, often in mangroves (Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, 
Laguncularia racemosa) or in willows (Salix caroliniana) (Bent 1926; Palmer 1962). Nesting also 
occurs in many other species of woody shrubs and small trees, including Australian pine (Casuarina 
sp.), cypress (Taxodium sp.), pond apple (Annona glabra), Brazilian pepper (Schinus 
terebinthifolius), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) 
(Nesbitt et al.1982). Almost all nesting occurs over shallow water or on islands separated from the 
mainland by relatively broad expanses of open water. Snowy Egrets feed in a wide variety of 
permanently and seasonally flooded marshes, swamps, lake and stream shorelines, and water 
impoundments, or even in very temporarily flooded ditches and agricultural fields, usually where 
the water is relatively shallow and calm (Palmer 1962; Sykes and Hunter 1978; Bancroft et al. 1990; 
Edelson and Collopy 1990). The Snowy Egret also feeds in upland grasslands and at the edge of the 
surf along beaches (Palmer 1962; Ogden, unpubl. data). 



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Although difficult to document, the overall impression is that significant losses of feeding habitat 
have been occurring for several decades in Florida, and that it is these losses rather than destruction 
of colony sites that has been primarily responsible for the population declines (W. Robertson and 
P. Frederick, pers. comm.). The pattern of population recovery prior to the 1950s, followed by 
several recent decades of decline, has been explained as an artificially depressed population (plume 
hunting) building to its regional carrying capacity, then declining as that carrying capacity 
diminished as wetlands were lost (Robertson and Kushlan 1974). 

SOUTHERN LIP FERN {Cheilanthes microphylla) 

The Southern Lip Fern is always found on limestone or other calcerous formations. The Duval and 
Collier county stations are on aboriginal shell mounds, while the Miami location is on a limestone 
wall. The habitats are dry, or at least periodically so, and are usually shaded. 

SOUTHEASTERN AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius paulus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: American Kestrels are secondary 
cavity-nesters, depending on cavity excavators (e.g., woodpeckers) and natural processes to produce 
nesting sites. In a study of 95 nest sites in north-central Florida (Hoffman 1983; Hoffman and 
Collopy 1987), kestrels were found to nest predominately in longleaf pine {Pinus palustris) snags 
(53%); of the remaining nests, 32% occurred in sand pines (P. clansa), 12% in turkey oaks (Quercus 
laevis), 3% in live oaks (Q. Virginiana), and <1% in post oaks (Q. stellatd). In an area with a wide 
size range of potential nesting trees (8-40+ cm dbh), kestrels preferred snags that were 32-40 cm dbh 
(Hoffman 1983). In a comparison study area that had a smaller size range of snags available (8-32 
cm dbh), 93% of the kestrels nested in the largest size class available (24-32 cm dbh). 

In a longleaf pine-turkey oak sandhill study site in north-central Florida, kestrel cavities (n = 29) 
were most frequently old Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) excavations (45%) or enlarged 
cavities of Melanerpes or Colaptes woodpeckers (38%) (Hoffman 1983). Kestrel nest cavities (n 
= 3 1) in the sand pine clearcuts of the Ocala National Forest were predominately (61%) old Northern 
Flicker (C. auratus) holes. In addition to the presence of snags and woodpeckers to excavate 
cavities, kestrels require open fields to forage for food. In a roadside survey conducted in 
north-central Florida, paulus kestrels generally preferred open areas (e.g., pastures, fields, and open 
woodlands), and avoided hardwood stands and slash, pine plantations (Bohall-Wood and Collopy 
1986). Small wood (1987) showed that the percent coverage of a kestrel's winter territory by woody 
canopy was negatively correlated with the foraging quality of that habitat; nearly all hunting attempts 
occurred in grasses and weedy forb <25 cm in height. Nesting and foraging habitats preferred by 
kestrels have and are continuing to decline rapidly throughout Florida. 



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SQUIRREL CHIMNEY CAVE SHRIMP (Palaentonetes cummingi) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

SUWANNEE BASS (Micropterus motius) 

HABITAT: The Suwannee bass occurs most in shoal areas having a moderate to swift current, a 
bottom comprised of limestone (often covered by sand), and water of high pH and hardness. 
Individuals observed in spring runs are often seen resting along the banks under dense overhanging 
or floating vegetation. 

SUWANNEE COOTER (Pseuedemys concinna suwanniensis) 

See RIVER COOTER (Pseudemys concinna) 

SWEET SHRUB (Calycanthus floridus) 

No information is provided on this specie in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. 

TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Nesting colonies of the Tricolored Heron 
in Florida are most often located on mangrove (Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, 
Laguncularia racemosa) islands along the coast, or in willow (Salix caroliniana) thickets in 
freshwater wetlands (Bent 1926; Palmer 1962). Nesting also may occur in other woody thickets, 
including Australian pine (Casuarina sp.), cypress (Taxodium sp.), pond apple (Annona glabra), 
Brazilian pepper (Schinus teretbinthifolius), saltbush (Baccharis sp.), and wax myrtle (Myrica 
cerifera) (Nesbitt et al. 1982). Almost all colony sites are located on islands or in woody vegetation 
over standing water. Tricolored Herons feed in a wide variety of permanently and seasonally 
flooded marshes, mangrove swamps, tidal streams, roadside ditches, and shallow edges to ponds and 
lakes (Bancroft et al. 1990). The long history in Florida of wetland degradation by drainage, creation 
of impoundments, and changes in water quality are thought to be the major cause for the population 
decline of Tricolored Herons. It appears that losses of wetlands essential as feeding habitats for 
Tricolored Herons during the nesting season may be having the greatest adverse impact on these 
birds. For example, water management practices in the Everglades region have altered the timing, 
location, and frequency of natural hydrological patterns (Johnson and Ogden 1990; Johnson et al. 
1992). These hydrological changes have caused colonial nesting wading birds to abandon traditional 
colony sites and to have reduced levels of nesting success (Frederick and Collopy 1989; Bancroft 
1989; Ogden 1994). 



I 



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WAKULLA SEASIDE SPARROW (Ammodramus maritimus junciolus) 

See SEASIDE SPARROWS. 

WATER SUNDEW (Drosera intermedia) 

HABITAT: This plant is called the Water Sundew because it often grows as an aquatic. It occurs 
in clear streams or ponds with its stems and most of its leaves submerged. It is also found in bogs 
(almost always with Sphagnum moss), which although periodically flooded are seasonally above 
water. In such a habitat the Water Sundew can locally become very common. 

WEST INDIAN MANATEE (Trichechus manatus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: Florida manatees occupy coastal, 
estuarine, and some riverine habitats. Primary habitat requisites are access to vascular aquatic plants, 
freshwater sources, proximity to channels 1 -2 m deep, and access to natural springs or man-made 
warm- water refugia during winter (Hartman 1978). Sheltered bays, coves, and canals are important 
for resting, feeding, and reproductive activity (Bengtson 1981; Powell and Rathbun 1984). Florida 
manatees forage on a wide variety of aquatic plants including seagrasses, bank grasses, overhanging 
mangrove, and submerged, rooted, or floating species (Hartman 1979; Best 1981). In summer 
individuals may range widely, and seasonal migrations of 850 km to wintering areas have been 
documented (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, unpubl. data). These wide-ranging movements require 
access to travel corridors that are unobstructed by dams, shallows, or congested boat traffic. 

Manatee habitat in Florida has been and continues to be greatly altered by residential and 
commercial development of coastal land (Packard and Wetterqvist 1986). Dredge-and-fill activities 
may destroy areas of aquatic vegetation, whereas new channels and inlets may allow access to 
additional habitat. Tampa Bay, for example, has experienced an 81 percent decrease in seagrass 
acreage in the last century due to adjacent urbanization (Lewis et al. 1985). Water pollution poses 
a threat to aquatic plants as a food base. Manatees are not known to accumulate significant residues 
of most persistent environmental contaminants, because of their low position in the food chain. 
Exposure to copper-containing aquatic herbicides, however, has potential harmful effects (O'Shea 
et al. 1984). The number of boats using manatee habitat has increased rapidly (O'Shea 1988), 
creating substantial disturbance as well as greater potential for injury and death. An increase in 
artificial warm-water sources in the 1950s and 1960s and a proliferation of exotic aquatic vegetation 
have proven of short-term benefit to manatee populations (Powell and Rathbun 1984; Shane 1984), 
but some industrial sources of warm water will soon reach the end of their designed operating life. 



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WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TREND: White Ibises show very broad habitat 
tolerances for both foraging and nesting. The species nests and feeds commonly in freshwater, 
brackish, and saline environments, and adults appear to prefer foraging in freshwater areas when 
feeding young. Though adults are capable of excreting salt through a nasal salt glands-young will 
not grow when fed salty diets or denied access to fresh water (Johnston and Bildstein 1990). The 
success of breeding is therefore dependent on access to freshwater feeding areas, especially when 
nesting on marine islands. This limitation was probably the cause of the collapse of breeding by 
Scarlet Ibises in Trinidad's Caroni Swamp (Bildstein 1990), where an estuarine swamp became 
salinized through canalization of a major river. White Ibises prefer relatively shallow water depths 
when feeding (5-15 cm), though often they have been noted feeding on lawns and pastures. 
Foraging habitats include bottomland hardwood and cypress swamps, river banks, salt marsh 
meadows, wet prairies, floating vegetated mats, mudflats, mangrove swamps, sawgrass strand edges, 
hydric hammocks, canal edges, beach flats, and landfills. Ibises feed primarily on aquatic 
arthropods, especially crayfishes and insects, although small amphibians and reptiles also are 
commonly taken. Ibises will eat fish when available, but the fish must usually be extremely 
abundant or vulnerable for ibises to capture them. Although receding water levels in south Florida 
seem to be critical to the stimulation and success of nesting, this is not necessarily true of breeding 
in other parts of the range. In coastal South Carolina, White Ibises foraging in riparian bottomlands 
may nest in larger numbers during years of higher rainfall (Bildstein et al. 1990). Ibises are tactile 
feeders and forage effectively in turbid waters and in waters with dense vegetation. 

Nesting colonies are usually surrounded by water, as this species is quite vulnerable to predation by 
terrestrial mammals. Ibises tend to nest in shrubby vegetation with moderate shade, although then- 
preferences often include ground nesting on clumps of grasses and in trees to 15 m. White Ibises 
can travel long distances from colonies to feeding areas; regular trips to sites 30 km away have been 
associated with successful breeding in several locations. Foraging and breeding habitat has declined 
considerably in the last 25 years, both due to the drainage or degradation of wetlands through human 
encroachment and through manipulation of intact wetlands. While drainage and physical destruction 
of habitat has been largely discontinued in the state, habitat degradation, encroachment of human 
development, and water management remain important sources of further habitat degradation. 

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) 

HABITAT REQUIREMENTS AND HABITAT TRENDS: Wood Storks nest in colonies located 
in woody vegetation over standing water or on islands surrounded by relatively broad expanses of 
open water (Nesbitt et al. 1982). Most natural colony sites in Florida have been in cypress 
{Taxodium sp.) or mangrove (often Rhizophora mangle), although colonies also have been located 
in southern willow {Salix caroliniana), pond apple {Annona glabra), led in mixed associations of 



D-21 

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amended August 28, 1997 



swamp hardwoods (e.g., Magnolia, Nyssa) (Rodgers et al.1988; Ogden 1991). Primarily since the 
1 970s, storks also have nested at sites where water has been artificially impounded by roads or 
levees or where islands have been created by dredge activities (Ogden 1991). Nests in these altered 
or artificially created colony sites may be in the same species of trees as in the natural sites, but also 
have been in dead or dying upland trees (e.g., Pinsus, Quercus), in exotic species such as Australian 
pine (Casuarina sp.) and Brazilian pepper {Schinus terebinthefolius), or even in low-thickets of 
cactus (Opuntia sp.) on islands. The use of altered or artificial colony sites suggests that, in some 
regions or in years of low rainfall, storks have been unable to locate natural nesting habitat that is 
adequately flooded during the nesting season. Use of altered or artificial habitats as stork nesting 
habitat in central and north Florida has increased from approximately 10% of all nesting pairs in 
1959-1960 to 60-82% between 1976 and 1986. 

Storks feed primarily in water between 5 and 40 cm (2-15 in.) deep, where the water is relatively 
calm and uncluttered by aquatic vegetation (Kahl 1964; Coulter 1987). Almost any shallow wetland 
depression where fish tend to become concentrated, either through local reproduction by fishes or 
as a consequence of area drying, may be good feeding habitat. These sites include drying marshes, 
shallow roadside or agricultural ditches, narrow tidal creeks and pools, and depressions in cypress 
heads or swamp sloughs. However, all such sites must have sufficiently long annual hydroperiods 
or adequately strong hydrological connections with more permanent water to produce or make 
available necessary densities of fishes as prey for storks. 

Differences among years in patterns and amounts of rainfall result in differences among years in 
where and when storks feed. Colony sites that are successful over time will be those that have a 
large number of potential feeding sites, including relatively shallow and deep sites that may only be 
suitable in years of rainfall extremes (Courter 1987). 

The increase in both number and percentage of the population nesting in central and northern Florida 
since the 1970s has been characterized by a regional increase in the number of colonies active each 
year, rather than by an increase in the size of existing colonies (Ogden et al. 1987). Presumably 
limitations in the total area of wetland foraging habitat within flight range of each site may limit 
colony size in this region. By contrast, the south Florida region, where much more expansive 
wetlands once occurred, was formerly characterized by a relatively small number of much larger 
colonies being active each year. 



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amended August 28, 1997 



E. COMMENTS 



amended August 28, 1997 



EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR 



STATE REPORT OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

FOR THE 

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA REGIONAL PLANNING COUNCIL1S. 

STRATEGIC REGIONAL POLICY PLAN 

February 27, 1996 



INTRODUCTION 

The State Report of Findings and Recommendations for the North Central Florida Regional 
Planning Council's Strategic Regional Policy Plan has been prepared in accordance with sections 
186.507 and 186.508, Florida Statutes, and Rule 27E-5, Florida Administrative Code. 

This report identifies the significant findings and recommendations compiled from the review 
comments received from state and regional agencies and other entities. It sets forth findings that 
identify concerns with the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council's (NCFRPC's) proposed 
strategic regional policy plan (SRPP). Additionally, it includes specific recommendations for each 
finding necessary to make the plan consistent with the Chapter 187, Florida Statues (State 
Comprehensive Plan), Chapter 186, Florida Statutes, Rule 27E-5, Florida Administrative Code, and 
other pertinent state regulations. The report and the reviewing agencies' comments are provided to 
assist the NCFRPC in its continuing development and improvement of the north central Florida 
region's plan. 

A copy of the State Report of Findings and Recommendations for the North Central Florida 
Regional Planning Council's Strategic Regional Policy Plan shall be included in the adopted plan 
in a comment section, pursuant to section 186.508, Florida Statutes. By attachment, the NCFRPC 
may indicate where recommended revisions have been incorporated into the region's plan. 

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

1. Finding: 

Other state and regional reviewers have provided the Governor's Office of Planning and Budgeting 
(OPB) with critical and important review comments regarding the proposed SRPP. 

Copies of all comments submitted to the Governor's Office regarding the NCFRPC's proposed SRPP 
are incorporated herein for the Council's consideration and use. 



E-l 

amended August 28, 1997 



Recommendation: 

To finalize the SRPP for rulemaking and to help develop the Council's future work plan for 
continuing to amend the region's plan, the critical and other important comments provided by state 
and regional government entities need to be considered as the Council finalizes its plan. Those 
include comments received from the departments of Transportation, Community Affairs, 
Environmental Protection, Commerce, State, Health and Rehabilitative Services, Florida Game and 
Fresh Water Fish Commission, Suwannee River Water Management District, and St. Johns River 
Water Management District. Additionally, any comments received from other reviewers, particularly 
local governments, are to be considered in revising your plan. As the NCFRPC continues to develop 
its region's SRPP, it should ensure that the plan is consistent with and furthers the State 
Comprehensive Plan (SCP). 

NCFRPC Response: Revisions to the proposed plan have been made, when appropriate, to 
address all EOG comments. Additionally, the Council has reviewed and considered all 
comments received from state and regional agencies as well as local governments. Many 
changes have been made to the plan in response to these comments. 

2. Finding: 

The state's review and analysis of the proposed SRPP were enhanced by the February 5, 1996, 
meeting with the NCFRPC executive director and staff and representatives of state and regional 
agencies. The meeting was held to discuss comments, questions and concerns regarding the 
proposed plan. As expressed at that meeting, the NCFRPC 's commitment to amend and improve 
the plan will allow the SRPP to be as strategic, accurate and updated as possible to serve as a guide 
for the north central Florida region. 

Recommendation: 

As discussed in the February 5, 1996 meeting, the RPC may wish to pursue implementing a SRPP 
amendment process similar to the local government comprehensive plan amendment process, i.e., 
twice annually. Such a process would facilitate incorporation of meaningful regional guidance from 
new legislation, future revisions to the SCP, updated data and information, and the findings and 
recommendations of other current planning activities and programs, such as the metropolitan 
planning organization (MPO) Year 2015 Transportation Plan, Campus Master Plans, Florida 
Greenways, and ecosystem management projects. Pertinent regional guidance from such programs 
should be incorporated into the north central Florida region's SRPP. 

NCFRPC Response: The Council has been guided in the preparation of the regional plan by 
the plans and programs of local governments and state agencies, including but not limited to 
the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the Gainesville Urbanized Area, 
the Florida Greenways Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's 
Ecosystem Management Program as applied to Ichetucknee Springs State Park, and local 

E-2 
amended August 28, 1997 



government comprehensive plans. Since these plans and programs change from time to time, 
it is important for the Council to constantly monitor and amend its plan accordingly. 

3. Finding: 

Goals 4.1 . through 4.4. and Goal 4.6. are not consistent with and do not further the SCPrUse of the 
word "should" rather than "shall" makes these goals more permissive than the goals and policies in 
the SCP. Further, these goals do not provide an adequate and clear description of the long-term end 
toward which programs and activities are ultimately directed. 

Recommendation: 

The goals contained in the Natural Resources of Regional Significance section of the proposed SRPP 
must be amended to be consistent with the SCP, other pertinent statutes and rules, and to provide an 
adequate and clear description of the long-term end toward which programs and activities are 
ultimately directed. Goals 4. 1 . through 4.4. and Goal 4.6. must be revised to omit the terms "should" 
and "shall" or the term "should" must be replaced with "shall." For example, Goal 4.1., could be 
rewritten as follows: 

Preserve the natural functions and integrity of the Big Bend coastal and marine resources 
for existing and future generations of residents. 

OR 

The natural functions and integrity of the Big Bend coastal and marine resources SHALL 
be preserved for existing and future generations of residents. 

NCFRPC Response: The referenced goals have been amended as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.1. Preserve Big Bend coastal and marine resources identified as 
Natural Resources of Regional Significance for future generations of residents in 
recognition of their economic and ecological importance to the region. Recognizing 
their economic as well as ecological importance to the region and the state, the natural 
functions and integrity of the Big Bend Coastal and Marine Resources should be 
preserved for existing and future generations of residents. 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.2. Maintain an adequate supply of high-quality groundwater 
to meet the needs of north central Florida residents, in recognition of its importance to 
the continued growth and development of the region . Recognizing its importance to 
the continued growth and development of the region, an adequate supply of high - 
quality groundwater should be maintained to meet all the needs of the residents of the 
region, both now and in the future. 






E-3 
amended August 28, 1997 



REGIONAL GOAL 4.3. Recognizing their importance to maintaining adequate 
supplies of high - quality groundwater for residents of the region, both now and in th e 
future. Protect the natural functions of all sources of recharge to the Floridan aquifer 
should be protected from any aU activities which would impair these functions or cause 
a degradation in the quality of the water being recharged in recognition of the 
importance of maintaining adequate supplies of high-quality groundwater for the 
re gion. 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.4. Maintain the identified attributes of regionally significant 
habitat areas in order to ensure the survival of flora and fauna native to the region, fe 
order to ensure the future survival of flora and fauna native to the region, the natural 
functions and integrity of strategic habitat conservation areas identified as natural 
resources of regional significance should be maintained . 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.67. Maintain the quantity and quality of the region's surface 
water systems in recognition of their importance to the continued growth and 
development of the region. Recognizing their importance to the continued growth and 
development of the region, the quantity and quality of the region's surface water 
systems should be maintained for future generations. 

4. Finding: 

Goal 4.5., page IV-54, is not consistent with the SCP, is not meaningful and does not provide 
adequate guidance to the region because: 

1) the condition of protection of the "Planning and Resource Management Areas" is 
more permissive than the SCP [section 1 87.20 l(10)(a), Florida Statutes]; 

2) the "amount and degree of protection" needed is undefined in the plan; 

3) the goal creates an undefined test of proportion to need; 

4) the plan does not provide for quantifying the "need to protect;" and 

5) the "purpose and function" of the natural resources is undefined. 

Recommendation: 

Goal 4.5., must be amended or rewritten to be consistent with the SCP and provide adequate 
guidance to the region. 



E-4 
amended August 28, 1997 



> 



NCFRPC Response. Goal 4.5 has been amended as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.56. Protect natural resources of regional significance identified 
in this plan as "Planning and Resource Management Areas." The amount and degree 
of protection established by state and local agencies for areas included in this 
classification entitled "Planning and Resource Management Areas" should b e directly 
proportional to the need to protect their purpos e and function . ' 

5. Finding: 

The proposed SRPP is not consistent with section 1 87.20 l(10)(b)4. and 5., Florida Statutes, and 
sections 27E-5. 002(4), and 27E-5.004(3), Florida Administrative Code because the proposed plan 
does not adequately identify and address endangered and threatened species, and species of special 
concern, and does not justify their omission as natural resources of regional significance. 

Recommendation: 

To be consistent with section 1 87.20 1(1 0)(b)4. and 5., Florida Statutes, and sections 27E-5. 002(4), 
and 27E-5. 004(3), Florida Administrative Code, the trends and conditions statement (TCS) must be 
amended to identify endangered and threatened species, and species of special concern, and the 
problems and opportunities related to the protection of these species and their habitat. The plan also 
must be amended to include goals and policies that provide for the protection of endangered and 
threatened, and species of special concern. 

NCFRPC Response. The Natural Resources of Regional Significance TCS has been amended 
to recognize listed species as natural resources of regional significance. Additionally, the 
following goal and policies have been added to address listed species: 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.5. Protect all listed species located in north central Florida. 

Re gional Indicators: 

As of November. 1995. the Florida Natural Areas Inventory Database contains 
610 locations within the region of sightings of listed plant and animal species . 

Policy 4.5.1. Work with local governments and the Florida Game and Fresh Water 
Fish Commission to ensure the survival of all listed species found in the region. 

Policy 4.5.2. Increase citizen awareness on the effects of human activities on listed 
species. 

Policy 4.5.3. Coordinate planning efforts to protect listed species found within the 
re gion. 

E-5 
amended August 28, 1997 



6. Finding: 

The SRPP is to provide guidance for the physical, economic and social development of the region, 
to serve as a basis for review of DRIs and local government comprehensive plans, and to provide a 
regional basis and perspective for the resolution of identified problems and needs. Several of the 
proposed goals are too broad, and contain vague or undefined terminology making it impossible to 
determine consistency with the SCP. They also do not provide specific guidance to the region as 
required by section 27E-5. 004(6), Florida Administrative Code. For example: 

• Goal 2.1., page 11-54, implies that the region's goal is to expand and retain existing 
businesses but provides no regional guidance addressing new business recruitment. 

• Goal 2.3, page 11-55, is too broad to provide regional guidance for expanding tourism in the 
region. 

• Goal 5.2., page V-16, addresses a problem that is not established as regionally significant in 
the associated TCS. Most of the problems and threats posed by the University of Florida 
growth should be able to be addressed or settled in the Campus Development Agreement due 
to be submitted to the City of Gainesville on July 29, 1996, rather than in the SRPP. 

• Goal 5.3., page V-17, appears to be superfluous because it addresses maximizing the use of 
the existing airport facilities before developing new facilities when the associated TCS and 
regional indicator show that enplanements have been decreasing in the region since 1980, 
and dramatically since 1990. The necessity and validity of the goal is unclear. Further, the 
TCS indicates that enplanements are increasing, yet the data presented in the plan (page V-6) 
demonstrates that enplanements are decreasing. 

Recommendation: 

Each of the proposed goals must be thoroughly evaluated for consistency with the SCP, to provide 
clear and specific guidance to the region, to determine validity, and to respond adequately to the 
regionally significant problems and opportunities identified in the associated TCSs. For example, 
Goal 2.1. could be rewritten as follows: 

Attract new high paying and value-added industries and expand existing businesses. 

NCFRPC Response. Regional goals 2.1, 2.3, and 5.2 have been revised as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.1. Retain and expand existing businesses located within the 
region Attract new high paying, value-added industries and expand existing businesses 
in the region . 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.34. Expand the regional tourism industry. 

E-6 

amended August 28, 1997 



REGIONAL GOAL 5.2. Mitigate adverse impacts to the Gainesville Central City TCMA 
regional transportation facilities associated with enrollment growth at the University of 
Florida. 

With regards to Goal 5.3, additional language has been added to the TCS which documents 
the need for this goal. Conflicting language within the TCS regarding enplanements has been 
corrected. 

7. Finding: 

Several of the proposed policies are inconsistent with section 27E-5. 004(7), Florida Administrative 
Code, and may not be consistent with the SCP because they contain vague or undefined terminology 
and/or the purpose is unclear making it impossible to determine consistency with the SCP, and/or 
do not provide adequate guidance to the region. For example: 

• Policies 4.3.3., 4.4.5., 4.5.2., and 4.6.1. do not provide adequate guidance to the region 
because: 

1) they are unclear as to what "environment" is to be pursued, and 

2) the justification for "minimum regulatory burden" is not defined or established in the 
proposed plan. 

• In addition to the above, Policy 4.5.2. does not: 

3) define or explain "natural function/purpose," and 

4) clearly identify the referenced "classifications." 

• There are no associated policies for Goal 3.1., page 111-13, regarding development in the 
Coastal High Hazard Areas. 

Recommendation: 

The proposed policies in the plan must be thoroughly evaluated to determine consistency with the 
SCP, to provide clear and specific guidance to the region, to clarify their purpose, and to respond 
adequately to the regionally significant problems and opportunities identified in the associated TCSs. 

For example, policies could be added to Goal 3.1. similar to the following: 

Avoid expenditure of state funds that subsidize development in Coastal High Hazard Areas. 



E-7 
amended August 28, 1997 



NCFRPC Response: The Council has added the following policy to Goal 3.1: 

Policy 3.1.5. With the exception of enhancements necessary for the health t 
safety, and welfare of its residents, avoid the expenditure of state funds that 
subsidize development in Coastal High Hazard Areas. 

Additionally, the Council has amended the referenced policies as follows: 

Policy 433. Encourage state and local regulatory agencies to p Pursue an re gulatory 
environment consisting of the minimum regulatory burden necessary for the 
maintenance of the natural functions the quantity and quality of groundwater recharg e 
inof Areas of High Recharge Potential to the Floridan Aquifer, Ichetucknee Trace, 
Stream-to-Sink Watersheds and Sinks identified as natural resources of regional 
significance. 

Policy 4 . 4 .5. Encourage state and local regulatory agencies to pursue an environment 
consisting of the minimum regulatory burden necessary for the maintenance of the 
identified attributes of strategic habitat conservation areas identified as natural 
resources of regional significance. 

Policy 4.56.32. Provide technical assistance to local governments in the development 
of appropriate local government comprehensive plan policies and land development 
regulations necessary to maintaining the natural functions and purpose of areas or and 
water bodies included in this classification identified as natural resources of regional 
si gnificance classified in this plan as "Planning and Resource Management Areas . 

Policy 4.67.1. Encourage state and local regulatory agencies to p Pursue an re gulatory 
environment consisting of the minimum regulatory burden necessary for the 
maintenance of the quantity and high quality of the region's surface water systems. 

The phrase "regulatory environment" refers to all government plans, goals, policies, 
standards, and regulations which directly or indirectly affect land and land development The 
phrase "regulatory environment" has been added to the Glossary. The "minimum regulatory 
burden" is defined by the courts on a case-by-case basis. 

8. Finding: 

The TCSs included in the proposed SRPP are inconsistent with sections 186.507(3) and (4), Florida 
Statutes, and section 27E-5. 004(4), Florida Administrative Code, because they are not based upon 
expected growth patterns of the region and do not include any discussion or analyses of the region's 
current or future population or growth patterns. Additionally, the TCS for each strategic regional 
subject area does not provide a basis and framework for the associated regional goals and policies. 
Examples include: 

E-8 
amended August 28, 1997 



• Goal 1.2., page 1-28, addresses premature deterioration/demolition of residential units, but 
no analysis is provided in the associated TCS concerning the subjects of the goal. 

• Goal 3.3., page III- 14, addresses improving response times of regional hazardous materials 
response teams, but there is not any data about response times, the number of cases in which 
response times were too slow or the magnitude of the threat to the region because of slow 
response times. 

• Goal 5.4., page V-17, references the region's railroads; however, the associated TCS fails to 
provide any analysis that shows any threat or problem that could result in the loss of the 
railroads. 

• Several policies contained in the Natural Resources of Regional Significance section (i.e., 
Policies 4.3.6., 4.4.6., 4.5.4., and 4.6.3.) encourage continued or expanded public acquisition 
of properties within the region to provide resource protection. The need for continued or 
expanded public acquisition or the viability of alternative resource protection methods such 
as less-than-fee purchase is not discussed or "set-up" in the associated TCS. 

• Policy 4.5.7., page IY-55, requires the implementation of the "Green Line protection goals 
and objectives;" however, these "goals and objectives" are not identified or discussed in the 
trends and conditions. 

• Policy 5.1 .5., page V-l 5, requires that the NCFRPC provide technical assistance to the north 
central Florida Transportation Disadvantaged service providers. This program is not 
discussed in the associated trends and conditions and the service providers are not identified. 

Recommendation: 

The TCS must be amended to provide a discussion and analysis of the growth patterns of the region 
(including an analysis of the current AND projected population of the region) and the associated 
impacts on the strategic regional subject areas. 

The TCS associated with EACH of the strategic regional subject areas must be amended to provide 
a basis\background or to establish the region's need for each regional goal and policy. 

NCFRPC Response. The Economic Development element has been amended to include an 
extensive analysis of population trends and conditions. 

With regards to comments addressing premature deterioration/demolition of residential units, 
Goal 1.2 and its associated policies and regional indicators have been deleted from the plan. 

With regards to comments regarding Goal 3.3, the Emergency Preparedness element has been 
amended to address response times of regional hazardous materials response teams. 



v 



E-9 
amended August 28, 1997 



With regards to Goal 5.4, the Transportation element TCS has been amended to address 
regional concerns regarding potential adverse economic development impacts as a result of a 
loss of rail access to north central Florida communities. 

Policies 4.3.6, 4.4.6, 4.5.4, and 4.6.3, theses policies have been temporarily deleted until such 
time as the Council has the resources to properly "set-up" these policies in the TCS. 

With regards to Policy 5.1.5, the Council has substantially revised the Regional Transportation 
element TCS to address the transportation disadvantaged. As a result of the revision, Policy 
5.1.5 has been replaced with Goal 5.5 and associated policies which are as follows: 

Public Transit Service Providers 

REGIONAL GOAL 5.5. Reduce the unmet General Trip demand of the north central 
Florida Transportation Disadvantaged population. 

Re gional Indicator 

An estimated 807.917 general demand trips. 82.8 percent of total estimated 
transportation disadvantaged trips, were unmet in 1995. 

Policy 5.5.1. Improve mobility options for low-income, elderly and disabled citizens. 

Policy 5.5.2. Increase funding for coordinated transportation systems for the 
transportation disabled. 

Policy 5.5.3. Provide technical assistance to designated north central Florida 
community transportation coordinators. 

9. Finding: 

The TCSs in the SRPP provide a good description of each strategic regional subject area; however, 
the TCSs are inconsistent with section 186.507(3), Florida Statutes, and 27E-5.002(1 1), Florida 
Administrative Code because they do not provide the necessary background analyses of factors that 
describe current conditions and projections. 

Recommendation: 

As required by section 27E-5. 002(1 1), Florida Administrative Code, the TCSs for each strategic 
regional subject area must be amended to include background analyses that interpret significant 
trends, conditions and projections. 



E-10 
amended August 28, 1997 



NCFRPC Response: Additional analysis has been added to every TCS. The Council 
recognizes that, in many instances, the SRPP does not contain projections of current trends. 
Projections will be added to the plan as time and resources allow. 

10. Finding: 

The proposed SRPP may be inconsistent with section 186.507(3), Florida Statutes, and section 27E- 
5.004(5), (6) and (7), Florida Administrative Code, because it does not address some significant 
regional problems and needs in the TCSs, goals and policies. Examples of significant regional 
problems and needs not identified and analyzed in the plan include: 

hurricane evacuation routes and clearance times; 

the regional value of natural areas such as uplands, estuaries and wetlands; 

mining activities in environmentally sensitive areas; 

partnerships with the University of Florida for regional advancements, such as agriculture, 
tourism, mining, and value-added industry; and 

the influx of elder residents into the region. 

Recommendation: 

To be consistent with section 186.507(3), Florida Statutes, and section 27E-5. 004(5), (6) and (7), 
Florida Administrative Code, the SRPP must be amended to provide TCS analyses and policy 
guidance for all significant regional problems and needs. 

NCFRPC Response. With regards to hurricane evacuation routes and clearance times, the 
Emergency Preparedness Element has been revised to address and identify hurricane 
evacuation clearance times and shelter capacities. 

With regards to the regional value of natural areas such as uplands, estuaries, and wetlands, 
the SRPP identifies and addresses all uplands, estuaries, and wetlands which are identified by 
the Council as Natural Resources of Regional Significance. 

With regards to mining activities, the following policies have been added to the SRPP: 

Policy 4.3.9. Minimize the effect of mining activities on water quality and quantity of 
the Floridan Aquifer. 

Policy 4.7.16. Minimize the effect of mining on the surface water quality and seasonal 
flows of surface waters identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

E-ll 
amended August 28, 1997 



With regards to partnerships with the University of Florida, the following policy has been 
added to the SRPP: 

Policy 2.3.2. Continue working with the University of Florida to improve the regional 
economy. 

With regards to the influx of elder residents to the region, the Economic Development element 
TCS has been revised to include trends and projections regarding elderly populations. 

11. Finding: 

The regional goals and policies contained in the proposed SRPP are to be developed from, and 
related to the problems, needs and opportunities identified in the TCSs. The TCSs in the proposed 
SRPP are inconsistent with section 186.507(4), Florida Statutes, and section 27E-5. 004(6) and (7), 
Florida Administrative Code, because they identify several regionally significant problems, needs 
or opportunities that do not have associated goals and policies. For example: 

• The Affordable Housing section highlights several housing problems facing the region such 
as increased reliance upon mobile homes, housing quality, and housing affordability. The 
proposed SRPP does not include adequate goals or policies that specifically address these 
regional problems. 

• The Economic Development section demonstrates that the per-farm income in north central 
Florida is only 37.7 percent of the statewide average, and that the region's farm acreage has 
declined by 28.7 percent from 1982 to 1992. This is a significant regional problem; 
however, the plan does not include goals or policies to guide the region in addressing these 
problems. 

• The Economic Development section, page 11-48, identifies private-public sector cooperation 
as a regional opportunity for downtown revitalization and economic development within the 
region. However, there are no associated goals or policies to guide the region to build upon 
these opportunities. 

Recommendation: 

The proposed SRPP must be amended to include goals and policies for the significant regional 
problems, needs and opportunities identified in the TCSs. 

For example, the agricultural problems and opportunities identified in the TCSs could be addressed 
by adding a goal, indicators and policies similar to the following: 



E-12 
amended August 28, 1997 



Goal: Expand food, agriculture, aquaculture, silviculture and related industries in order to be a 
competitive force in state, national and international marketplaces. 

Indicators: Farm cash receipts from and acres of land currently used for agriculture. 

Gross sales and acres of land used for silviculture. — 

Gross sales and acres of water surface used for aquaculture. 

Policy: Protect and expand agricultural and forestry resources and activities by 

implementing initiatives such as ad valorem tax incentives and best 
management practices. 

Policy: Work with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Science at the University of 

Florida to research, develop, and apply agricultural technology to be utilized 
in the production and marketing of the region 's agricultural products. 

Policy: Establish public/private partnerships to provide technical, financial and 

information services to the agricultural sector. 

NCFRPC Response. Every TCS has been amended to include a subsection entitled "Problems, 
Needs, and Opportunities." The Introduction section of the SRPP states that this subsection 
) of the TCS is the only place the regional plan identifies problems, opportunities, and needs as 
required by Rule 27E-5.002(11). This subsection has been added for purposes of clarification 
so that the reader may clearly identify problems, opportunities, and needs. 

The EOG has misinterpreted the regional plan by identifying mobile homes as a problem. The 
TCS identifies an increasing percentage of the region's housing stock as comprised of mobile 
homes. While this is an observation of the TCS, it is not recognized in the SRPP as a problem. 

The Affordable Housing Problems, Needs, and Opportunities subsection has been amended 
as follows: 

The Council identifies the following affordable housing problems, opportunities, and 
needs: 

A need exists to reduce the percentage of the region's very low-, low-, and 
moderate-income households who spend more than 30 percent of their 
annual household income on housing. 

With regards to EOG comments regarding the TCS as identifying public-private sector cooperation as 
a regional opportunity for downtown revitaiization, the referenced sentence, which is located on page 
11-54 of the TCS, has been deleted as not being material to the discussion. 



' 



E-13 

amended August 28, 1997 



With regards to agriculture, the Council has added the following goal and associated policies 
to the Economic Development element: 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.3. Expand north central Florida food, agriculture, aquaculture. 
forestry and related industries in order to be a competitive force in state, national, an 
international marketplaces. — 

Re gional Indicators 

1. In 1990. 6.914 north central Florida residents were employed in 
A griculture. Forestry, and Fishing . 

2. In 1990. 4.6 percent of all north central Florida employed residents were 
employed in Agriculture. Forestry, and Fishing . 

Policy 2.3.1. Protect and expand agricultural and forestry resources and activities by 
implementing initiatives such as best management practices. 

Policy 2.3.2. Continue working with the University of Florida to improve the regional 
economy. 

Policy 2.3.3. Establish public/private partnerships to provide technical, financial, and 
information services to the agricultural sector. 

12. Finding: 

The Regional Resources and Facilities section is not consistent with section 186.507(3), Florida 
Statutes, and section 27E-5. 004(5), Florida Administrative Code, because: 

• the section does not address regional resources and facilities identified in the Regional 
Resources and Facilities section, and 

• the proposed SRPP does not identify and address all resources and facilities that are 
regionally significant such as historical and archeological sites, evacuation shelters, Florida 
Greenways (see attached copy of a Governor's Greenways Proclamation and a list of 
proclaimed Florida Greenways located in the NCFRPC) and U.S. Highway 90, and other 
resources and facilities that may be regionally significant such as ecosystem management 
projects, hiking trails, and cultural facilities. 



E-14 
amended August 28, 1997 



Recommendation: 

The SRPP must be amended to identify and address regionally significant resources and facilities 
including historical and archeological sites, evacuation shelters, Florida Greenways and U.S. 
Highway 90. Further, in order to make the lists of Regional Resources and Facilities more user 
friendly, the plan needs to be amended to incorporate a comprehensive listing of all- identified 
regionally significant resources and facilities and/or amended to refer to the various lists (and their 
location, i.e., page numbers) contained throughout the proposed plan. 

Florida Greenways, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historical Site, the Center for 
Performing Arts, and the Florida Trail have been added to the Regional Facilities element. 
Evacuation shelters have been added to the list of regionally significant emergency 
preparedness facilities. U.S. Highway 90 has been added to the list of regionally significant 
transportation facilities. 

13. Finding: 

As written, many of the proposed policies are not consistent with the definition of "policy" as 
provided in section 27E-5. 002(6), Florida Administrative Code because they do not identify the ways 
in which programs and activities are to be conducted to achieve the region's goals. The use of such 
terms as "encourage, " "ensure, " "promote, " "support, " and "address, " do not provide clear 
guidance to be consistent with the SCP or do they provide adequate guidance for local governments 
to amend their comprehensive plans in order to be consistent with the SRPP. Policies which do not 
adequately identify howthe region will achieve its goals include: Policies 1.1.2., 2.2.1., 2.2.3., 3.3.4., 
4.6.16., 5.2.2., and 5.4.1. 

Recommendation: 

The SRPP must be amended to delete the use of terms which do not provide clear regional 
guidance and to be consistent with the SCP. For example, Policy 5.4.1. could be rewritten as 
follows: 

Maintain and/or upgrade freight rail lines to meet federal and state safety standards. 

As another example, Policy 1.1.2., could be rewritten as follows: 

Provide incentives, such as density bonuses, to private builders of residential dwelling units who 
construct 10.0 percent or more of their units for very low-, low-, and moderate-income households. 

NCFRPC Response. The Council has revised all SRPP policies accordingly. 



> E-15 

amended August 28, 1997 



14. Finding: 

The proposed maps and list of natural resources of regional significance (NRRS) are not consistent 
with section 186.507(1 1), Florida Statutes, and Rule 27E-5.004(3)(a), Florida Administrative Code, 
because they do not identify endangered and threatened species or species of special concern on the 
maps and list of NRRS. — 

Recommendation: 

The NRRS maps and list must be amended to incorporate the best available data regarding natural 
resources of regional significance including endangered and threatened species and species of 
special concern. 

NCFRPC Response: The SRPP identifies and maps Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas 
greater than 20 acres in size as natural resources of regional significance. As indicated in the 
TCS, these arc areas which arc cither inhabited by or provide habitat capable of supporting 
listed species. Each SHCA is described and a listing of species found in each area is included 
in the TCS. The plan includes goals and policies designed to ensure the survival of SHCAs and 
by so doing, the survival of all species native to north central Florida, including listed species. 
In response to the EOG comment, the SRPP has been amended to identify all listed species as 
natural resources of regional significance. Maps of Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas have 
been deleted from the regional plan. The Council has substituted regionally significant habitat 
areas for Strategic Habitat Conservation Areas in Table 4.1. 

15. Finding: 

Many of the proposed SRPP policies describe work activities of the RPC staff rather than define programs 
and activities and provide guidance toward goal attainment. As a result, the policies are inconsistent with 
sections 27E-5. 001(1), and 27E-5. 003(1), (6) and (7), Florida Administrative Code. Examples of these 
policies include those associated with Goal 5.1., and Policies 1.1.5., 2.3.1., and 2.3.2. 

Recommendation: 

The proposed policies contained in the SRPP which imply work activities solely for the RPC must 
be amended to provide clear guidance to the region to support goal attainment rather than RPC 
workload. For example, the policies associated with Goal 5.1. could include any or all of the 
following: 

• Mitigate adverse impacts of development upon regional transportation facilities. 

• Prevent highway demands created by growth from degrading level of service standards on 
the Florida Intrastate Highway System (FIHS) below those established by the Florida 
Department of Transportation. 

E-16 
amended August 28, 1997 






• Prevent highway demands created by growth that will degrade level of service standards on 
non-FIHS facilities below those adopted in LGCPs. 

• Coordinate with state agencies to identify reserved or dedicated rights-of-way to protect 
critical transportation corridors. — 

• Develop a mechanism by which regional transportation priorities are defined and 
understood among all counties that are not represented by the Gainesville MPO. 

• Direct future transportation improvements to aid in the management of growth and to 
promote economic development in designated areas . 

NCFRPC Response. The following policies have been added to Regional Goal 5.1: 

Policy 5.1.7. Mitigate adverse impacts of development upon regional transportation 
facilities. 

Policy 5.1.8. Mitigate impacts created by development so as to maintain the minimum 
level of service standard on the Florida Intrastate Highway System fFIHS) as 
established by the Florida Department of Transportation. 

* Policy 5.1.9. Mitigate impacts created by development so as to maintain the minimum 

adopted level of service standard on non-FIHS roads identified in this plan as 
si gnificant regional transportation as established in local government comprehensive 
plans. 

Policy 5.1.10. Coordinate with state agencies to identify reserved or dedicated rights- 
of-way to protect critical transportation corridors. 

Policy 5.1.11. Develop a mechanism by which regional transportation priorities are 
defined and understood among all counties that are not represented by the 
Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the Gainesville Urban Area. 

Policy 5.1.12. Direct future transportation improvements to aid in the management of 
growth and that promote economic development in designated areas. 

16. Finding: 

Most regional indicators contained in the proposed SRPP will not allow progress to be adequately 
measured towards goal achievement and therefore are inconsistent with section 27E-5. 004(6), 
Florida Administrative Code. For example: 



E-17 

amended August 28, 1997 



• Indicators 1 and 2, for Goal 2.3., page 11-55, measure licensed hotel/motel rooms and 
restaurant seating capacity. It is unclear how these indicators adequately measure progress 
in expanding regional tourism throughout the entire north central Florida region rather than 
in the corridors adjacent to the interstate highways. Further, it is confusing to use only these 
indicators in absence of other indicators such as tourism/recreational sales tax, by type, 
collected by the Department of Revenue. - — 

• The indicators for Goal 3.1., page III- 13, measure the number of weather buoys and 
emergency warning sirens, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration 
weather radio transmission coverage for the region. It is unclear how these indicators 
adequately measure regional emergency preparedness because they do not include 
measurement of emergency shelter capacity and evacuation clearance times. 

• The indicators for Goal 4. 1 ., page IY-50, measure the acreage of the Big-Bend saltmarsh and 
seagrass beds, and the Florida Middle Ground. It is unclear if the data related to these areas 
in the proposed plan are valid, who collects this data, and how and by whom it will be 
collected in the future. 

Additionally, the proposed SRPP does not define "indicators" or explain how this plan component 
is to be used. 

Recommendation: 

The indicators in the proposed SRPP must be evaluated and amended to provide valid, reliable and 
appropriate measures by which progress can be assessed toward goal attainment as required in rule 
27E-5. 004(6), Florida Administrative Code. The purpose and function of the indicators also must 
be defined in the SRPP in order that the interested public may understand their intended use. 

NCFRPC Response. Good regional indicators which fully meet the requirements of 27E- 
5.004(6), F.A.C. , are difficult to find. The Council remains open to specific recommendations 
for better regional indicators. Regional Goal 23 and its associated indicators are as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.34. Expand the regional tourism industry. 

Regional Indicators 

1. In 1993, there were 7,315 licensed hotel and motel rooms in the region. 

2. In 1993, the licensed seating capacity of all north central Florida restaurants 
was 51,208. 

3. In Fiscal Year 1993-94, total annual attendance at state parks, preserves, and 
other state-owned areas located in north central Florida was 530,626. 

E-18 
amended August 28, 1997 






Council review of Department of Revenue sales tax reporting categories reveals no such 
"tourism/recreational sales" category. The closest tourist-related categories are #8, 
Restaurants and Lunch Rooms, #9 Taverns, Night Clubs, #59 Admissions, and #85, Hotels, 
Apartment Houses, Etc. The Council fails to see how reporting sales tax revenue collected at 
restaurants, lunch rooms, taverns, and night clubs offers a better understanding of tourism 
activity than the Council's chosen measure, licensed restaurant seating capacity. Additionally, 
sales tax rates can change over time, skewing year-to-year comparisons. The measure of 
annual attendance at state parks, preserves, and other state-owned areas is a superior measure 
of tourism activity when compared to Admissions sales tax revenues as the Admissions sales 
tax category includes the sale of movie theater tickets. The number of licensed hotel rooms is 
a superior measure of tourism activity than the Apartment Houses, Etc, sales tax category 
since the latter includes dwelling units which are more likely to be occupied by residents than tourists. 

Since only 4 of the 11 counties in the region have enacted a tourist development tax, using 
tourism development tax receipts would produce an inaccurate measure of regional tourism 
activity since counties drop the optional tax. Counties could also change the amount of the tax 
over time, thereby adding even more confusion to this proposed indicator. 

With regards to EOG comments on emergency preparedness, the Regional Indicators for 
Regional Goal 3.1 have been amended as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 3.1. Improve emergency preparedness for coastal storms in the 
region. 

Regional Indicators 

1. As of June 1, 1995, one coastal weather buoy exists in the Gulf of Mexico located 
approximately 100 miles southwest of Horseshoe Beach. 

2. As of June 1, 1995, NOAA weather radio transmissions covered 20.0 percent of 
the region. 

3. As of June 1, 1995, one north central Florida coastal community had an 
emergency warning siren. 

4. As of January 1. 1996. Dixie County had a surplus of 1.569 public shelter 
spaces. 

5. As of January 1. 1996. Taylor County had a surplus of 4.931 public shelter 
spaces. 

6. As of January 1. 1996. Dixie County had a Long Response clearance time of 9.00 
hours. 

E-19 
amended August 28, 1997 



7. As of January 1. 1996. Taylor County had a Long Response clearance time of 

9.25 hours. 

With regards to EOG comments on the Big Bend Saltmarsh and Big Bend Seagrass Beds, 
Goal 4.1 and its associated regional indicators have been amended as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.1. Preserve Big Bend coastal and marine resources identified as 
Natural Resources of Regional Significance for future generations of residents in 
recognition of their economic and ecological importance to the region. Recognizing 
their economic as well as ecological importance to the region and the state, the natural 
functions and integrity of the Big Bend Coastal and Marine Resources should be 
preserved for existing and future generations of residents. 

Regional Indicators 

1. In 1996, the Big Bend Salt Marsh comprised 46,189 acres. 
3r. In 199 6 , the Big Bend Seagrass Beds comprised 1 6 5,599 acres. 

2. In 1983. the Big Bend Seagrass Beds, extending to the jurisdictional limits of the 
State of Florida off Dixie and Taylor counties, were comprised of 1.781.670 
acres of Dense Seagrass. 92.320 acres of Patchy Seagrass. and 208.980 acres of 
Sparse Seagrass. 1 

3. In 1996, the Florida Middle Ground comprised 132,000 acres. 

The footnote to Regional Indicator 2 reads as follows: 

Tim Leary ? Florida Marine Research Institute. March. 1996. According to the Dick 
Sargent. Assistant Research Scientist at the Institute, the 1983 data represents the best 
available information regarding the aerial extent of the Big Bend Seagrass Beds. A new 
study currently underway will map the Big Bend Seagrass Beds based upon aerial 
photo-interpretation which will be done by the National Biological Service using 
December 1991 1:24.000 natural color aerial photos. The new seagrass classification 
system will consist of "continuous" and "patchy" categories. Patchy will break down 
into 4 classifications of percent of cover. The 1983 data will not be directly comparable 
to the 1991 data as the older study used a combination of aerial photos and diver 
tows/transects to map those seagrasses not visible on aerial photos The new study will 
only map habitat which is directly visible from aerial photos. 



E-20 
amended August 28, 1997 



% 



17. Finding: 

The proposed SRPP includes several internal discrepancies and contradictory statements. For 
example: 

• Goal 2.4., page 11-55, is vague, and is unclear because it seeks to maintairr"economic 
stability" in a region that has high unemployment and low opportunity, thereby seeking 
maintenance of a condition or state that does not exist. 

• The Affordable Housing section identifies mobile homes as a regional opportunity as an 
"affordable alternative to conventionally-built, detached, single-family residential homes." 
However, the Emergency Preparedness section presents the increased reliance upon mobile 
homes as a regional problem due to the adverse impact on the region's emergency shelter 
capacity. Additionally, the plan does not include goals or policies to address the affordable 
housing or emergency preparedness issues of mobile homes. 

• The Strengths and Weaknesses portion of the Economic Development section, page 11-44, 
states that "Many industrial parks with water, sewer, natural gas, and electricity to meet the 
demands of new industries;" however, the proposed SRPP states on page 11-45, that "many 
north central Florida communities are lacking in facilities and infrastructure normally 
associated with and necessary for industrial activities." 

• The Transportation section, page V-6, states that enplaned passengers increased by 6.1 
percent from 1980 to 1990; however, figures provided show that the number of passengers 
decreased fiom 177,104 in 1980, to 166,264, in 1990, to 140,134, in 1992. 

Recommendation 

The plan must be amended to address these discrepancies. 

NCFRPC Response. Goal 2.4 has been amended as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 2.45. Maintain economic stability throughout the region Reduce 
the regional unemployment rate . 

EOG is misinterpreting the regional plan with regards to mobile homes. The Affordable 
Housing TCS does not identify mobile homes as a regional opportunity nor does the 
Emergency Preparedness element identify the increased reliance upon mobile homes and their 
impact on emergency shelter capacity as a regional problem. As noted in Table 3.2, the region 
has, and is projected to continue to have, a large surplus of emergency shelter spaces through 
the year 2000. The Emergency Preparedness TCS problems, needs, and opportunities 
subsection does identify a need for all north central Florida local governments to become 
signatories to the Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement for Catastrophic Disaster Response and 

E-21 
amended August 28, 1997 



Recovery in order to assure that shelter space will be provided when needed by inland north 
central Florida local governments. 

The Council has addressed EOG's comments regarding discrepancies contained in the 
Economic Development and Regional Transportation elements. 

18. Finding: 

The proposed plan does not identify and address the relationships among the strategic regional 
subject areas. Clearly, the problems and opportunities affecting the north central Florida region 
apply to multiple strategic regional subject areas. 

Recommendation: 

The proposed SRPP should be amended to address the integration and linkage between the strategic 
regional subject areas. 

NCFRPC Response. Integration and linkage between the strategic regional subject areas has 
been improved. 

19. Finding: 

Although the maps provided are at the required scale of 1:100,000, it is difficult to determine the 
portion of the region shown on each map overlay in relation to the overall region. This makes it 
difficult for the reader to adequately locate the resources identified. 

Recommendation: 

In order to make the NRRS maps more user friendly, each map overlay must identify which portion 
of the region is shown. 

NCFRPC Response. The referenced locator map has been added to each map. A sample is 
attached to this response. 

20. Finding: 

The Introduction, on page x, refers to a References section that lists the data sources used in the 
development of the SRPP. However, no References section is included in the proposed SRPP. 






E-22 
amended August 28, 1997 



Recommendation: 

The SRPP needs to be amended to include a References section that includes a bibliography of the 
data sources used in the development of the SRPP. 

NCFRPC Response. The SRPP discussion regarding references has been- amended 
accordingly. All sources used in the development of the SRPP are contained in footnotes. 



E-23 
amended August 28, 1997 



March 27, 1996 

Mr. Charles Justice 
Executive Director 

North Central Florida Regional Planning Council 

"2009 North West 67 Place — 

Gainesville, Florida 32653-1603 

Dear Mr. Justice: 

Thank you for the opportunity to review the March 28 revised North Central Florida Regional 
Planning Council (NCFRPC) Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP). We commend the Council 
staff for the progress made toward incorporating the comments contained in the February 27, 1996, 
State Report of Findings and Recommendations for the North Central Florida Regional Planning 
Council's Strategic Regional Policy Plan (State Report of Findings and Recommendations). 
However, several issues need to be considered by the NCFRPC prior to final plan adoption or 
through amendments to the plan after adoption. As we discussed in our telephone conversation on 
March 25, the following comments are provided to further clarify some of the findings presented in 
the State Report of Findings and Recommendations. 

The trends and conditions statements (TCS) continue to lack the required background analyses of 
factors that describe current conditions and projections needed to provide an adequate 
basis/background and establish the region's need for each regional goal and policy as required by 
Section 186.507(3), Florida Statutes, and Sections 27E-5.002(11) and 27E-5.004(4), Florida 
Administrative Code. Specific examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

1. Policies 4.3.6., 4.4.6., 4.5.4., and 4.6.3. appear to be inconsistent with several comments 
contained in the associated TCS. The TCS indicates that further public land acquisition 
efforts would not be supported by several county governments in the north central Florida 
region due to the impact on the region's tax base and the large quantity of land currently in 
public ownership. The TCS does not provide any discussion and analyses of fee-simple 
acquisition or viable alternative acquisition methods such as less-than-fee simple acquisition, 
conservation easements, etc., in the north central Florida region. The TCS for the Natural 
Resources section must be amended to analyze the need for continued acquisition, the 
viability of alterative acquisition methods, and the impact upon county governments in the 
north central Florida region. 

NCFRPC Response: Policies 4.3.6, 4.4.6, 4.5.4, and 4.6.3 have been temporarily deleted until 
such time as the Council is able to revise the TCS accordingly. 

2. Policy 4.5.7., contained in the December 31, 1995, draft SRPP, addresses the voluntary 
implementation of "Green Line protection goals and objectives". These protection "goals 
and objectives" are not identified or analyzed in the associated TCS. The TCS must be 

E-24 
amended August 28, 1997 



amended to provide a basis/background for the "Green Line protection goals and objectives" 
and establish the need for Policy 4.5.7. 

NCFRPC Response: Policy 4.5.7 has been deleted. 

3. To clarify Finding 17 in the State Report of Findings and Recommendations, tins-Affordable 
Housing section in the revised SRPP documents that a high percentage of the housing stock 
in the north central Florida region is comprised of mobile homes and that the reliance upon 
mobile homes is increasing. However, the Emergency Management section states that, 
although the region currently has adequate emergency shelter capacity through 2000, the 
increased reliance upon mobile homes could dramatically increase the number of 
households in need of shelter. Additionally, the revised plan does not contain goals or 
policies to address this regional issue. The TCSs must be amended to describe or establish 
why this is not identified as a problem, need or opportunity. Further, associated goals and 
policies must be included in the SRPP. 

NCFRPC Response: Much of the difficulties noted by EOG are the result of the timing of 
Council receipt of the draft Cedar Key Basin Hurricane Evacuation Study, Technical Data 
Report. This study will replace the Council's 1990 study. In order to eliminate inconsistencies 
and confusion, references to the Council's 1990 study have been deleted from the TCS. 

4. The TCSs contained in the revised SRPP do not provide analyses and projections for the 
following issues: 



* 



premature deterioration and demolition of residential dwelling units; 
response times of regional hazardous materials response teams; or 
* Potential adverse economic development impacts resulting from a loss of rail access to north 

central Florida communities. 

The TCSs must be amended to provide analyses and projections for the issues identified above. 
Additionally, goals and policies must be included in the SRPP to address these issues. ... 

NCFRPC Response: With regards to premature deterioration and demolition of residential 
dwelling units, Affordable Housing Problem, Need, and Opportunity #2 as well as Regional 
Goal 1.2 and its associated regional indicator and policies have been temporarily deleted until 
such time as the Council has the resources necessary to research the housing 
quality/maintenance issue. 

With regards to response times of regional hazardous materials response teams, language has 
been added to the TCS stating the response times of regional hazardous materials response 
teams. Projected response times are unavailable. Projections of response times will be added 
to the plan at a later date when sufficient time and funding are available to the Council to 
prepare the requested projections. 

E-25 
amended August 28, 1997 



With regards to potential adverse economic development impacts resulting from a loss of rail 
lines, The Council has no empirical data to support its concern regarding potential adverse 
impacts due to a loss of rail access. Therefore, railroad right-of-way and Amtrak stations 
have been deleted from the SRPP as regionally significant transportation facilities. Associated 
discussion of rail lines and Amtrak stations has also been deleted. Regional Goal 5.4 as well 
as its associated regional indicators and policies have been deleted from the SRPP. The 
Council will conduct a study of economic impacts resulting from the loss of rail access when 
sufficient time and funding are available to the Council to prepare such a study. When this 
study is completed, rail lines and Amtrak railroad stations, as well as associated goals and 
policies may be added to the SRPP, depending upon the findings of the Council study. 

As you requested during our March 25 telephone conversation, the following comments are provided 
to clarify any misinterpretations that Council staff may have had regarding some of the findings and 
recommendations contained in the State Report of Findings and Recommendations. 

5. The TCS contained in the Economic Development section states, on Page 11-54 of the revised 
SRPP, that private-public sector cooperation is a key to successful downtown renovation 
projects in several communities in the region. However, this is not identified by the revised 
SRPP as an opportunity for the region. The Economic Development TCS must be amended 
to describe or establish why public-private sector cooperation is not a regional opportunity. 

NCFRPC Response: The Economic Development TCS sentence located on page 11-54, stating 
that private-public sector cooperation is a key to successful downtown renovation projects in 
several communities in the region, has been deleted. 

6. The State Report of Findings and Recommendations established that the indicators identified 
for Goal 1 . 1 do not provide valid or appropriate measures. Indicators related to coastal 
weather buoys, NOAA weather radio transmissions, and emergency warning sirens measure 
only emergency warning and do not adequately measure the region's overall emergency 
preparedness for coastal storms. The plan must be amended to include indicators such as 
shelter capacity and evacuation clearance times in order that the overall regional 
preparedness for coastal storms may be more accurately measured. 

NCFRPC Response: The requested regional indicators have been added to Goal 3.1 of the 
Emergency Preparedness element. 

7. Revised Goal 4.6 has been amended by the NCFRPC staff to address the comments contained in the 
State Report of Findings and Recommendations and is improved over the original proposed goal. 
However, the goal is likely to be inconsistent with the State Comprehensive Plan (SCP) and does not 
provide adequate guidance to the region for resource protection because the terms "minimum level 
[of protection] necessary" and "amount and degree of protection" are not defined or explained in the 
revised SRPP. Additionally, regional agencies (i.e., water management districts) are omitted from the 
intent of the goal. 

E-26 
amended August 28, 1997 



The SRPP must be amended to "set-up" Goal 4.6. Additionally, the SRPP must be amended to 
% define, discuss and analyze the "minimum level [of protection] necessary" and the "amount and 
degree of protection" needed for resource protection. Additionally, as agreed in our telephone 
conversation, the goal will be amended to include "regional" agencies. 

NCFRPC Response: Revised Goal 4.6 and its associated policies have amended-as follows: 

REGIONAL GOAL 4.67. Maintain the quantity and quality of the region's surface water 
systems in recognition of their importance to the continued growth and development of the 
re gion. Recognizing their importance to the continued growth and development of the region^ 
the quantity and quality of the region's surface water syst e ms should be maintained for future 
generations. 

Regional Indicators 

1. In 1996, 1,103^340 acres of fresh water wetland were identified as a natural 
resource of regional significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional 
Policy Plan . 

2. In 1996, 9 north central Florida lakes were identified as natural resources of 
regional significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy 

, Plan . 

3. In 1996, 11 river corridors were designated as natural resources of regional 
significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

4. In 1996, 210,290 acres of river corridor were designated as natural resources of 
regional significance in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy 
Plan . 

5. In 1996, 50 springs were designated as natural resources of regional significance 
in the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan . 

Policy 4.67.1. Encourage state and local regulatory agencies to p Pursue an re gulatory 
environment consisting of the minimum regulatory burden necessary for the maintenance of 
the quantity and high quality of the region's surface water systems. 

Policy 4.67.2. Provide technical assistance to local governments in the development and 
implementation of appropriate local government comprehensive plan policies and land 
development regulations necessary to maintaining the quantity and high quality of the 
region's surface water systems. 



E-27 
amended August 28, 1997 



Policy 4 . 6 3. Where app r opriate, encourage the public acquisition of all or those portions of 
the rcgion ? s surface water systems, including land areas adjacent to or impacting on th e 
systems, where the minimum regulations necessary to maintain their quantity or high quality 
arc so great as to constitute a taking of private property without compensation. 

Policy 4.67.4. Support the efforts of the Suwannee River and St. Johns River Water 
Management Districts to c Continue their mapping of river floodplains. 

Policy 4.67.5. Update the regional map series delineating river floodplains as this information 
becomes available. 

Policy 4.67.6. Work with north central Florida local governments to standardize on a common source 
for wetland maps contained in local government comprehensive plans. 

Policy 4.67.7. S upport the water management districts u Use of non-structural water management 
controls as the preferred water management approach for rivers, lakes, springs, and fresh water 
wetlands identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

Policy 4.67.8. Support the coordination of land use and water resources planning for surface water 
resources designated as natural resources of regional significance among the council, local 
governments, and the water management districts through regional review responsibilities, 
participation in committees and study groups, and ongoing communication. 

Policy 4.67.9. Assist in environmental education efforts to increase public awareness of the region, 
surface water systems through the North Central Florida Tourism Task Force. 

Policy 4.67.10. Encourage and assist the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the 
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and local governments to c Establish and enforce 
consistent boating safety zones along the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers. 

Policy 4 . 6 .11. Support the coordinated review of local plan amendments and development projects 
within the Alapaha River Corridor, Ichctuckncc River Corridor, Santa Fc River Corridor, 
Suwannee River Corridor, and Withlacoochcc River Corridor . 

Policy 4.67.1211. Assist local governments in establishing consistent regulations for development 
projects within river corridors identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

Policy 4.67.4412. Encourage the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the local 
water management districts to I Identify and map the capture zones of all springs identified as 
natural resources of regional significance. Once delineated, the council will provide technical 
assistance to local governments in implementing spring protection programs based upon capture 
zones. 



E-28 
amended August 28, 1997 



Policy 4.67.1213. Provide technical assistance to local governments in obtaining grants to establish 
% centralized sewer systems in identified septic tank problem areas. 

Policy 4.67.1314. Ensure that local government comprehensive plans, DRIs, and requests for federal 
and state funds for development activities reviewed by the council include adequate provisions for 
storm water management, including retrofit programs for known surface water runoff problem areas, 
and aquifer recharge protection in order to protect the quality and quantity of water contained in 
the Floridan Aquifer and surface water systems identified as natural resources of regional 
significance. 

Policy 4 . 6 .1 6 . Support the coordination of land use and water resources planning for surface water 
systems identified as natural resources of regional significance among the council, local governments, 
and the water management districts through regional review responsibilities, participation in 
committees and study groups, and ongoing communication. 

Policy 4.67.1415. Work with local governments, state and federal agencies, and the local water 
management districts in the review of local government comprehensive plans and developments of 
regional impact as they affect wetlands identified as natural resources of regional significance to 
ensure that any potential adverse impacts created by the proposed activities on the natural functions 
of wetlands are minimized to the greatest extent possible. 

Policy 4.7.16. Minimize the effect of mining on the surface water quality and seasonal flows of 
^ surface waters identified as natural resources of regional significance. 

8. As agreed in the conference call, the qualifier "currently" will be deleted from Goal 4.5. in the 
revised SRPP, relating to endangered, threatened, or species of special concern. 

NCFRPC Response: The word "currently" has been deleted from Regional Goal 4.5. 

9. A new Problems, Needs and Opportunities component has been added to each section of the revised 
SRPP. The TCSs included in the revised SRPP do not discuss the process used by the NCFRPC to 
identify and address the significant problems, needs and opportunities now included in the plan. The 
SRPP must be revised to clearly identify how the problems, needs and opportunities are identified 
by the Council. 

NCFRPC Response: The SRPP Introduction has been amended to address the process by which 
regional problems, needs, and opportunities are determined. 

10. To repeat a comment in the State Report of Findings and Recommendations, the Council may wish 
to pursue implementing a SRPP amendment process that would facilitate the incorporation of 
meaningful regional guidance from new legislation, future revisions to the SCP, updated data and 
information, and the findings and recommendations of other current planning activities and 
programs. 

• E-29 

amended August 28, 1997 



NCFRPC Response: The Council will update the SRPP to reflect new legislation, future revisions to 
the SCP, updated data and information, and the findings and recommendations of other curre 
planning activities and programs. 

We appreciate the work that the NCFRPC staff has put into responding to the State Report of Findings and 
Recommendations and will continue to work with the NCFRPC to further improve the-SRPP. We request 
that you provide OPB and the other reviewing agencies with a copy of future drafts and amendments to your 
region's revised SRPP as well as a copy of the plan at the time your notice of proposed rulemaking is 
published. If you have any questions regarding the State Report of Findings and Recommendations and/or 
this letter, please call me at (904) 488-7793 or S/C 278-7793. 



Sincerely, 



Paul A. Carlson 



cc: Robert B. Bradley 
Teresa Tinker 
Chuck Kiester 
Steve Dopp 
All SRPP Reviewing Agencies 



E-30 
amended August 28, 1997 



STATE REPORT OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

FOR THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA 

STRATEGIC REGIONAL POLICY PLAN 

August 22, 1997 

Introduction 

The Governor's Office, in coordination with various state, regional and local government 
entities, and the public, has completed its review of the proposed amendments to the adopted 
strategic regional policy plan (SRPP) for the north central Florida region in accordance with 
sections 186.507 and 186.508, Florida Statutes , and Rule 27E-5, Florida Administrative Code . 
The state's review included a substantive analysis of the proposed amendments, including their 
consistency with Chapter 187, Florida Statutes (State Comprehensive Plan), Chapter 186, Florida 
Statutes , other pertinent statutes and rules, including Rule 27E-5, Florida Administrative Code . 

The following first restates and then responds to the comments and recommendations made by 
the Governor's Office, including comments received by the Governor's Office from other state 
and local agencies, and the public. In many cases, Council staff has paraphrased the referenced 
comment/recommendation for purposes of brevity. 

Comments/Recommendations From the Executive Office of the Governor (EOG) 

EOG Comment/Recommendation #1 

Add a policy which directs, at a minimum, detailed surveys and/or specific site 
assessments for listed plant and animal species and habitat, as required by section 9J- 
2.041, Florida Administrative Code, for developments undergoing regional review as a 
Development of Regional Impact to evaluate the impacts of such developments. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. A new policy is proposed to be added to the draft SRPP amendments which 
reads as follows: 

Policy 4.4.10. Detailed surveys and/or specific site assessments for listed plant and 
animal species, as well as habitat used by listed species shall be conducted in accordance 
with Rule 9J-2.041. Florida Administrative Code , for developments undergoing regional 
review as a Development of Regional Impact in order to evaluate the impacts of such 
developments on said species and habitats. 



E-31 
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EOG Comment/Recommendation #2 

Appendix E of the proposed amendment contains data and information regarding habitat 
obtained from the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals, Rare 
and Endangered Biota of Florida. Sources such as Guide to the Natural Communities of 
Florida, produced by FNAI in 1990, Closing the Gaps in Florida's Wildlife Habitat 
Conservation Systems, and Mapping Wetland Habitats of High Priority to Endangered 
and Threatened Species in Florida, both of which were produced by the Florida Game 
and Fresh Water Fish Commission in 1994, contain important information relating to 
listed species and their habitats and are available for use by the council to supplement the 
listed species identification and habitat descriptions contained in this amendment, we 
strongly encourage the RPC to include these additional data sources and publications in 
your library to make available to local governments and citizens in the region. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. It is proposed that the Council add these items to its library. 

Comments from Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) 

DCA Comment/Recommendation #1 

Rule 9J-2.041 for DRIs states that regionally significant habitat occurs for a listed species 
"whenever an important area of its habitat is documented to occur." Utilization of FNAI 
occurrence data is a first step towards documenting and mapping habitat, particularly for 
areas for which no surveys or site assessments have been conducted. Therefore, it is 
important, at a minimum, to include a policy which specifically requires developments 
undergoing regional review as Developments of Regional Impact to conduct detailed 
surveys and/or specific site assessments of listed plant species and wildlife habitat in 
order to evaluate the impacts of such developments on these species and their habitat (as 
required by Rule 9J-2.041, F.A.C. V The SRPP should also include a policy which 
recognizes and incorporates into the SRPP more detailed habitat mapping as reliable 
listed species habitat information becomes available as the result of DRI-related surveys 
and/or other specific site assessments (e.g., " Describe and map in the SRPP wildlife 
habitat as it becomes available from site surveys and other assessments, such as those 
associated with DRI reviews "). 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. See Council response to EOG comments 1 and 2 



E-32 
amended August 28, 1997 



DCA Comment/Recommendation #2 

The list of listed species is incomplete, as it does not include several state listed plant 
species which are currently in the Florida Natural Areas Inventory database for this 
region... Include the following plant species in Table 4.4.: Green Adder' s-Mouth 
(Malaxis unifolia), Southern Lip Fern (Cheilanthes microphylla), Sinkhole Fera- 
(Blechnum occidentale), and Autumn Coralroot (Corallorhiza odontorhiza). 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. It is proposed that these species be added to Table 4.4. 

DCA Comment/Recommendation #3 

The two paragraphs describing the requirements of Rule 9J-5.0-15(4) for local 
government comprehensive plans to identify in their Intergovernmental Coordination 
Elements all natural resources of regional significance listed in the relevant SRPP is 
outdated and not relevant. The DCA, pursuant to changes made by the Florida 
Legislature made to Chapter 163, F.S. . as recommended by the ICE Technical Committee 
in their December 1995 report, will soon eliminate that section of Rule 9J-5 (s.9J- 
5.015(4), F.A.C. ) which requires local government comprehensive plans to identify in 
their Intergovernmental Coordination Elements all natural resources of regional 
significance listed in the relevant SRPP and establish a process to determine if 
development proposals would have significant impacts on other local governments or 
state or regional resources or facilities in the applicable state or regional plan and what 
measures would be necessary to mitigate these impacts. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. These two paragraphs are proposed to be deleted. 

DCA Comment/Recommendation #4 

Habitat descriptions for the four listed species discussed in DCA 
Comment/Recommendation #2 should be added to appendix E. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur 



E-33 
amended August 28, 1997 



DCA Comment/Recommendation #5 

This set of comments/recommendations consists of a series of typographical errors and 
minor suggestions which bear no impact on the substance of the plan. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur 

Comments/Recommendations From the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission 
fGFWFO 

GFWFC Comment/Recommendation #1 

The proposed amendment is unlikely to result in protecting these listed species and 
habitat due to limited local government and Council staff expertise. Include Strategic 
Habitat Conservation Area maps as well as the Commission's wetland maps as Natural 
Resources of Regional Significance in the SRPP. These maps make it easy for local and 
regional staff to determine areas where additional information/protection measures are 
necessary to protect listed species and their habitats. 

NCFRPC Response 

Do not concur. This request is not in accordance with the recommendations of the Task 
Force which specifically rejected including the Strategic Habitat Conservation Area 
maps. 

Comments From the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD^ 

SJRWMD Comment #1 

For locating listed species habitat, the descriptions added in Appendix E are not sufficient 
for people who are unable to identify the various plant communities. Including habitat in 
the NRRS map series would make the SRPP more useful to local governments, 
particularly the smaller ones with limited staff capabilities, as well as citizens and other 
users of the plan.. ..We recommend that a policy be included stating that GFC, FNAI, 
WMD, and any other best available information should be used in conjunction with the 
element occurrence map and the habitat descriptions in Appendix E whenever a future 
land use change or development order is under consideration. 



E-34 
amended August 28, 1997 



NCFRPC Response 

Do not concur. See response to GFWFC comment/recommendation above. Omission of 
habitat and other maps from the SRPP does not preclude the use of such maps in the . 
review of impacts to listed species and their habitats by local governments in the review 
of specific development proposals. . 

Comments From the Florida Natural Areas Inventory fFNAD 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #1 

P xvii, footnote 5: Palaemontes cummngi, the Squirrel Chimney Cave shrimp is federally 
listed LT and not state listed. The definition of listed species should also include those 
that are federally listed. The same is true for P IV- 1, Footnote 59. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. The definition of listed species currently included in the SRPP glossary includes 
both state and federally listed species. 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #2 

P IV-20, Table 4.4: The title should read " State and Federally Listed Species Known to 
Occur in the North Central Florida Re gional Planning Council Area Identified in the 
FNAI Element Occurrence Database." The region is identified on strictly political 
boundaries and the area has never been thoroughly surveyed to identify all possibly 
occurring species. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #3 

The table is very poorly organized and difficult to read. Species should be grouped by 
class, not alphabetically by common name. At the very least, animals and plants should 
be grouped with each other. If the table is to be kept in this format, a heavy line should 
be drawn to distinguish the appropriate columns. 



1 



E-35 
amended August 28, 1997 



NCFRPC Response 

Do not concur. Species are listed in alphabetical order by common name because most 
people using the SRPP are not trained as biologists/botanists who would be familiar with 
scientific names/classes. The current method of organization should make the document 
easier to use by the widest cross-section of citizens in the region. — 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #4 

Calydorea (Lillium) catesbaei, Bartram's Ixia, has recently been removed from the FNAI 
list since it is so common and, therefore, should not be included in this table. 

NCFRPC Response 

Do not concur. Bartram's Ixia is still included in the latest version of the Official Lists of 
Endangered and Potentially Endangered Fauna and Flora in Florida . When the specie is 
removed from this publication, we will propose removing the specie from Table 4.4. 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #5 

Blechnwn occidentale, Sinkhole Fern; Cheilanthes micropylla, Southern Lip Fern; 
Corallorhiza odontorhiza, Common Coralroot; and Malaxis unfolia, Pondspice are listed 
by FNAI and not included in the table. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. It is proposed that these species be added to Table 4.4. 

FNAI Comment/Recommencation #6 

If Pandion haliatus is only state listed in Monroe County and if the criteria is that the 
species should be state listed in the North Central Florida RPC area then it should not be 
included in this table. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur 



E-36 
amended August 28, 1997 



FNAI Comment/Recommendation #7 

There are a number of spelling and case errors in this table which I have corrected and 
attached. Since this table sites FNAI, the comon names used by FNAI should be 
followed. This should also correlate with the FCREPA common names. 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. The common names listed in Table 4.4 are from the latest edition of the Official 
Lists of Endangered and Potentially Endangered Fauna and Flora in Florida , which differ 
in some cases from the common names used by FNAI and FCREPA; however, the table 
is proposed to be changed to provide the common names used by FNAI and FCREPA in 
addition to those used in the Official Lists . 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #8 

Page IV-20: The various volumes of the Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida have been 
published at various times. The plant volume was published nearly 20 years ago. Since 
this information is so dated, there may be new discoveries as far as identifying different 
types of habitats that species may occur in. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory "Guide 
to the Natural Communities of Florida", 1990, has extensive descriptions of the 
components of each of the 81 community types. Also there are lists of species 
occurrences by habitat in the 1997 FNAI Statewide Matrix. This information should be 
incorporated into the plan or at least reference should be made to it. 

NCFRPC Response 

Do not concur. The Task Force specifically agreed to use the habitat descriptions 
contained in Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida as recommended by the GFWFC. 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #9 

Page IV-22, Table 4.5: This list from the Florida Game and Fish Commisison should be 
at least on the same page with the other species information and preferably in the same 
table with appropriate acknowledgements. FNAI also provided information on the 
seaside sparrow, manatee, and Atlantic ridley turtle although they are not included in 
Table 4.4. 



E-37 
amended August 28, 1997 



NCFRPC Response 

Concur to adding information on the Seaside Sparrow, Manatee and Atlantic Ridley 
Turtle. Do not concur on tables reformatting request since the source of information 
contained in Table 4.5 is different from that for information contained in Table 4.4. 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #10 

The Wakulla seaside sparrow is no longer a taxonomic entity. It has been grouped with 
the Scott's seaside sparrow Ammodramus maritimus peninsulae. 

NCFRPC Response 

Do not concur. The Wakulla Seaside Sparrow is still included in the latest version of the 
Official Lists of Endangered and Potentially Endangered Fauna and Floria in Florida . 
When the specie is removed from this publication, we will propose removing the specie 
from Table 4.4. 

FNAI Comment/Recommendation #11 

Page IV-22: "Planning and Resource Management areas can more accurately be thought 
of as natural resource designations rather than natural resources per se." What does this 
mean? This is totally meaningless to me yet it sounds as though it was a significant 
designation. This needs to be explained so that the reader will have some idea of the 
meaning behind it. 

NCFRPC Response 

Do not concur. The regional plan draws a distinction between a resource and a resource 
designation. For example, the Big Bend Seagrass Bed is a resource. The Big Bend 
Seagrass Bed Aquatic Preserve is a resource designation. In another example, The 
Suwannee River is a resource; however, the designation of the river as a Surface Water 
Improvement Management water body is a resource designation, the boundaries of which 
may be different from that of the river per se. Planning and Resource Managment Area 
maps delineate resource area designations which may not necessarily be the same as the 
underlying natural resource. Council staff believes that the concept becomes apparent 
when reviewing the natural resources of regional significance so identified under this 
category on pages IV-21 through IV-27 of the regional plan; therefore, no changes as a 
result of this comment are proposed at this time. 



E-38 
amended August 28, 1997 



FNAI Comment/Recommendation #12 

It needs to be made clear in the legend of the map depicting FNAI species occurrences 
that these are only occurrences that have been recorded in the FNAI database. A blank 
portion of this map does not indicate that there is not a species occurrence. It may be that 
we have no information on this area. — 

NCFRPC Response 

Concur. It is proposed that the following sentence be added to the second paragraph on 
pageIV-3: 

Additionally, the number and location of occurrences of listed species can change 
over time as new locations of listed species are discovered. 

Comments/Recommendations From the Florida Forestry Association (TFA^ 

FFA Comment #1 

Our Association has been very concerned about the implications for future forest 
management activities on private lands designated on RPC maps as "regionally 
significant wildlife habitat." We are therefore considerably more comfortable with the 
approach used in the proposed amendment, which is based on known occurrences of 
listed species rather than the "broad-brush" habitat mapping previously considered. 

Council Response 

None 

Comments/Recommendations From the Sierra Club (SO 

SC Comment/Recommendation #1 

To remove habitat from the Natural Resources of Regional Significance is inconsistent 
with the statement in the Trends and Conditions, page IV- 1, "Both private and public 
lands provide important habitats for the survival of native plant and animal species." 



E-39 
amended August 28, 1997 



Council Response 

Do not concur. Habitat is not proposed to be removed from the plan. The currently 
adopted version of the North Central Florida Strategic Regional Policy Plan does not 
include a habitat map. The proposed amendment merely replaces the term "regionally 
significant habitat" with the term "Listed species and their habitats''' in Table 44, adds a 
map of the locations of known occurrences of listed species, and also adds descriptive 
text of habitats used by listed species. 

SC Comment/Recommendation #2 

Missing from the listed species is the Sims Sink crayfish. Other listed species which 
have been ignored are all federally listed species in the north central Florida region. The 
southeastern bat has significant terrestrial caves in three counties, which also shelter ra 

many other species and are especially vlunerable to human development. 

Council Response 

Concur to adding the Sims Sink Crayfish. Do not concur to comment regarding all 
federally-listed species. The Council has not ignored all federally-listed species. 
Proposed Tables 4.4 and 4.5 in the amendment package include federally-listed species. 

SC Comment/Recommendation #3 

Although there are no identified SWIM water bodies in the region, the plan overlooks the 
Orange Creek Basin project which has received special attention from the Governor's 
office and funding from state agencies. This project, which has a special management 
strategy and appointed citizens and scientific committees, should be recognized for the 
unique watershed approach to natural resource management. 

Council Response 

Do not concur. All SWIM water bodies are recognized as natural resources of regional 
significance and are listed in Table 4.1. As noted on page IV-20 of the currently adopted 
regional plan, the Suwannee River Water Management Distict has identified 1 8 north 
central Florida water bodies as priority waters to be addressed through SWIM. On the 
other hand, no north central Florida water bodies are included in the St. Johns River 
Water Management District SWIM priority list within which district Orange Creek Basin 
is located. Council staff are currently attempting to obtain information on the Orange 
Creek Basin project as suggested. 



E-40 
amended August 28, 1997 



SC Comment/Recommendation #4 

The descriptions of habitat provided by the Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida are so 
generalized that they provide no guidance for the location of specific habitat types. 
Consider this generic description from the manatee habitat: "access to vascular plants, 
freshwater sources.. .Sheltered bays, coves, and canals..." A local planner wilLbe left with 
two options when faced with land-use changes. The first is to consider every freshwater 
source, sheltered bay or deep canal as possible habitat and require wildlife surveys to 
ascertain the existence of the listed species and their habitat. The second is to throw up 
his hands in despair at the impossibility of determining where important habitat exists. 
We find it difficult to accept that local governments will require wildlife surveys on all 
likely habitats and consequently the proper planning to protect habitat will be abandoned. 

Council Response 

Do not concur. The regional plan does not limit local governments to the use of the maps 
supplied in the regional plan. There is nothing in the regional plan which prevents the 
local planner from using Strategic Habitat Conservation Area maps as published by the 
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission or any other information source for 
identifying listed species habitat. 



E-41 
amended August 28, 1997 



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